Brand New – 5 Authors, Five Books


, , , , , ,


La Rom Tor 3D_200

Steamy Romance. It sounds delicious in any language, but in the language of love it becomes exhilarating.

La Romance Torride.

From historical to contemporary, paranormal to cowboys, this collection has something spicy for every taste.

With TWO FULL LENGTH NOVELS and THREE NOVELLAS, La Romance Torride will warm your heart—and other places—for hours on end!


Marlow’s Revenge by KC Vixen:

Hate had ruled Steven Marlow’s life for thirteen years.

It sustained him after false accusations had him exiled to colonial Australia.

The thought of revenge kept him alive on the prison ship and on the chain gang.

When he finally meets up with the woman who lied, retribution will be swift and deadly.

He will exact a terrible revenge.

My Destiny by JL Perry:


Brooke gave up her dreams, relocating to another state with her husband Jake so he could pursue his, but when he commits the ultimate betrayal against her, she’s lucky to escape with her life.

She moves back to her hometown, alone and runs into Logan, the man who had helped her months ago. From the moment they first met, Brooke felt that they had a connection, and now she finds it is stronger than ever.

What stops her from acting on her feelings towards him?


From the moment he saw Brooke, Logan knew that she was the one he’d been searching for his whole life. Can he convince Brooke to let go of her insecurities so they can be together?

What will happen when Brookes past comes back to haunt her? Will Logan still be around to help her, or will she be left to face it on own her own?

Playing House by Abi Aiken:

Bookstore owner Lucy is still hurting from her ex’s cheating ways when her housemate drops another bombshell. She’s moving out, and taking her weekly rent money with her. To help pay the bills Lucy reluctantly allows the crazy-gorgeous Mark to move in. What will happen when their mutual attraction collides with Lucy’s trust issues? 

Sojourn With A Stranger by Keta Diablo:

A ghost haunts the halls of Stafford House. When Raine Brinsley arrives and accepts a position as a house servant, the ghost is determined to let Raine know who murdered her. Derek and Lyman Stafford race against time to produce the first male heir to secure the title to Stafford House. The brothers will do anything to win…including murder.

A dark, gothic novel with romance, mystery, suspense and thrills.

Whispered Pleasure by Lacey Roberts:

Blake Hunter is a tall, dark, handsome and sexy master of horses.

Lexie Jamison is a thorn in his side.He hasn’t seen the gorgeous, dark haired firecracker for four years.

Attraction is instant but Blake doesn’t have time for a contradictory pain in the butt. Within hours of arriving she has him so tied up in knots, he is hard pressed to remember his own name.

Will her lifetime wish finally be granted?

Amazon US:

Amazon UK


Other Stores:!la-romance-torride/c109o

Too Good an Offer to Miss Out On


, , , , ,

Keta Diablo has offered her brilliant book Land of Falling Stars for only 99c for the month of August. A saving of $3.00. Deals on books as good as this do not come along often, so please don’t miss out.

3D Cover - CraigAfter her parents die in a fire, Sophia Whitfield struggles to save her beloved home, Arbor Rose. The Civil War has devastated the South, and another blue coat has come to steal her meager possessions. Before the hated enemy inflicts his destruction, she shoots him… and then discovers the soldier is Gavin, the champion of her childhood.
Gavin’s dark secret lurks in Sophia’s future. When she discovers the truth, she’s torn between a burning hunger for the man she truly loves and loyalty to Jesse, her betrothed. The despicable acts of war have changed everything Sophia and Gavin once cherished. Yet somewhere deep in their hearts, the mystic Land of Falling Stars still exists.

Kindle: Land of Falling Stars ((Erotic Historical Suspense )) – Kindle edition by Keta Diablo. Romance Kindle eBooks @


Why? Why did it have to end? Land of Falling Stars was soooo good! What a romantic story. I’m in love with Gavin too. No man has ever been more devoted to a woman than he was to Sophia. God! This book left me with such a good feeling. I loved it. Gavin is all man….such passion and desire between these two. Very well done. Recommend highly. 10 stars. This is what romance is all about!!!!  Amazon Reader: Charlene Crowe

A Special Memory


, , , ,

To commemorate the beginning of World War 1, and as a special tribute to a very special group of men, Margaret Tanner has boxed three of her World War 1 romance novels into a Centenary Edition.

Tanner-WWICentennaryCollection-ebook (1)A hundred years ago, from the far flung corners of the British Empire, young men rushed to fight for Mother England. They left their wives and sweethearts behind. Many of these brave women waited in vain for their menfolk to return. How did they cope with the loss and heartache? Could they ever hope to find happiness with another man? Contains all three novels.

Allison’s War:
In 1916, on the French battlefields, a dying soldier’s confession has the power to ruin the woman he loves.

Daring Masquerade:
Harriet Martin masquerades as a boy so she can work with her shell-shocked brother, falling in love with her boss wasn’t part of the plan.

Lauren’s Dilemma:
Lauren Cunningham, carrying the out-of-wedlock child of a soldier, marries another man who is unjustly tried for murder. To save his life, will she publicly admit her sin, and risk the diabolical consequences that will surely follow?

Available Now:





, , , , ,

FALSELY ACCUSED – Margaret Tanner




This fabulous book was previously published under the title Savage Utopia. It has been reworked, renamed and re-released.

I have had the pleasure of reading this and highly recommend it. Margaret is one of the best Australian authors around and her books are worth every cent.




On board the convict ship taking them to the penal colony of Australia, Maryanne Watson and Jake Smith meet and fall in love, but Jake hides a terrible secret that will take him to the gallows if it ever comes out.

On arrival in Sydney the lovers are separated. Maryanne is sent to work for the lecherous Captain Fitzhugh. After he attacks her she flees into the wilderness and eventually meets up with Jake who has escaped from a chain gang. They set up home in a hidden valley and Maryanne falls pregnant. Will Jake come out of hiding to protect his fledgling family? And how can love triumph over such crushing odds?





Spotlight on KC Riley-Geyer


, , , ,

402582_574462149244456_854794963_nAbout KC:

Born on a black Monday, KC Riley-Gyer is a 45 year old who has worked as mechanic, in a book shop and in an IT company. Her interest in computers also led her to do volunteer teaching online within the graphics community. Her internet time also sparked her interest in puzzle based games, graphics and internet communities based around her pastimes. She is an avid reader and a cat lover.

Well, enough of the blurb from the back of her first book. Seriously though.

Back in 1967 KC was born on the morning of a black Monday on the Sunshine Coast north of Brisbane, Queensland, Australia. She is the eldest of two brothers and two half brothers, and her parents were (before retiring) typical Aussie hard workers. KC is the first to admit that her life growing up was nothing special with the usual ups and downs but can claim she never broke a bone in her body until she was 34 years old. She had the usual pets of cats, dogs and budgies, but can’t recall any fish. While a lover of all animals (except annoyingly yappy small dogs, she laughingly comments), she especially loves german sheppards, samoyed, wolves and the majority of the cats large and small.

Apart from her love of animals, the one thing she does remember – and still a large part of her life today – is her love of books. She still has her copies of ‘Dot and the Kangaroo’ and ‘Snugglepot and Cuddlepie’ she had received between the ages of 5 and 9. These days KC limits her buying of books due to so many of her favourites being part of a series. She hasn’t been that successful. Much to her amused annoyance.


Book 1 -

Objective: The Crimson Empire bk001-bkcover

An evening at a night club went horribly wrong for Enola. From a prank by her workmates to being kidnapped by a man she soon discovers to be a vampire. Refusing to kill her, he drags her with him and it soon becomes obvious he is being hunted. By who and what does he want with her? Will he kill her or fall for his charms as the chase continues?

Looking like the ‘girl next door’, Sonja works in an advertising company; until her second job demands her attention. Then, she is anything but the ‘girl next door’. Accepting a job with very little details, her reconnaissance finds her embroiled in vampire politics when her mark turns out to be one of the good guys. Maybe. Assigned to kill a major player, Sonja must decide between completing an assignment or follow her heart; not just because she is attracted to her mark but for humanity’s sake.

Enola and Sonja are from different sides of life but their paths cross when each of them meet the men of their dreams in two separate events. Or are they? The only hitch is the men are vampires and they drag the two women into a situation that could lead to a battle of control over the capital city of Queensland. Have the two women chosen the right side? Only time will tell.


Part 1

The Harbinger

Chapter 1

Well, I’d set myself up for it yet again and shook my head at my own stupidity as I wondered when would I learn. What was that saying about me? ‘Fool me once shame on you, fool me twice shame on me’, and this was the second time.

This time round I’d been left standing on the crowded dance floor of the night club all alone. It wasn’t the first time my co-workers – they’re called co-workers because work mates don’t treat their friends like that – had done such a thing to me; however, it was certainly going to be the last as far as I was concerned. What of a waste of a Friday night, and it was my own fault.

The first time was over a year ago when the nine of them had invited me out to dinner; to even out the numbers they’d said. I’d accepted in the effort of not being so shy and make friends. We sat there, ate dinner, made useless small talk as they’d never asked any true questions. Whenever I did they gave nonsense responses back. Once the food had been eaten they then started disappearing in twos and threes only to have left me with a two hundred plus dollar expense instead of fifteen to twenty, which would have been my share.

What they’d done to me kept them amused for the following week or more.

The second time, and definitely the last, they invited me out to the night club to go dancing with them…

“We’re all going to the new dance club on Newmarket Road tonight. We’ve been there before and it has great atmosphere, reasonable drinks, some food and music. Why don’t you join us? We’ll arrive at ten, dance for a few hours, and have a drink or two. It’ll be fun.” One co-worker said.

“Yeah, come on. The only expense is the entry fee and one round of drinks each if you have something to eat before coming out and then dancing the night away.” Encouraged two others.

“Oh yeah, and don’t forget the all the cuties looking for a good time.” Piped up a fourth.

“Oh definitely can’t forget those. Come on, say yes, you’ll enjoy yourself.” The rest urged.

Suffice to say I said sure. Stupid me.

The arrangement was that we would meet at the club. So, I went home and spent the early part of the evening having dinner then finding light-weight filmy clothing where the layers would look good. I didn’t have anything in the way of clubbing clothes but I did have some wonderful gauzy fabrics which were styled and of colours that went well together.

I’d decided to go with black tights which had metallic/silver-like flecks throughout and a silver long sleeved shimmery lycra top which came down to mid-thighs at the bottom hem’s highest point with the longest just below my knees off to one side and a straight cut neckline. While over the top of that a glittering medium to dark blue long sleeved semi lose lace over top that was turtle-necked in style and came down to mid-calf with scalloped hems at the bottom and on the sleeves.

It was the best I could do; with a couple of other layers underneath on the top half of me. With a finishing touch of black velvet ten centimetre heeled knee-high pirate boots and a touch of make-up and I was done.

After catching a taxi I arrived at the club at ten that night. Since I barely went anywhere, I had the money to splurge on a taxi to and from the night club. However, it was a good thing that I did because it was pouring rain when I walked out to the footpath. The street lights glittered off every wet surface possible and the trip to the club was slow.

My co-workers were waiting for me just outside the front doors, like they’d said. Not long after that we’d paid our twenty dollar entry fee and were all dancing near the bar after I’d bought the first round of drinks; my first clue that I didn’t pick up on. The place was full of dark walls and dark décor with the lights down low and occasionally strobing to the loudly pounding music. Because of the low lighting I had no way of working out what colour the décor was.

I didn’t know how long we had been dancing for when, as before, they were subtle in their disappearances by letting the dancing crowd swallow them up and just not come back; the second clue I didn’t pick up on. By the time I did notice it was too late. Oh, and my round of drinks had been the first and only round bought, so I was the only one down by almost a hundred dollars; not including the entrance fee.

Falling for the prank a second time I guessed I deserved what I got, but that hadn’t stopped it from hurting.

© KC Riley-Gyer 2012

Book 2 – 

Changes in Degrees




After the death of her husband in an accident that left her with a permanent disability, Sarah’s existence becomes a little less mundane when two men enter her sights during different stages of her life. One a man of mystery who waltzes in and out of her life, and one from fiction-come-reality who doesn’t hide his feelings for her. Both vastly different yet both predators and she is attracted to them both. However, each of the men bring their own challenges into her life and to her beliefs. Whom will she choose as each, in their own ways, bring changes in degrees?


Chapter 1

“Funny thing about changes happening in one’s life is you never know if it’s going to be good or bad until it happens. Can’t say, at the age of 23, that I’ve had any good changes lately, not that there’s much I can do about it. Once given, the changes can’t be returned like an unwanted gift, there will always be losses and/or revelations accompanying those changes. All one can do is the best with what one is dealt with.” – Sarah

“Changes. One may not have a choice in receiving them, but they can be anything one makes of them and this particular one was certainly interesting. It may not have started out that way during those first few moments, and I while may have fought against it, but it certainly became interesting.” – Kaelan


It was a sunny and brisk winter’s day and it was a perfect day to play now that he and his men were on leave. While the kiosk was playing some music which barely registered to him, he was leaning against the Jeep waiting for the rest of his players to turn up. He surveyed the area, sizing up the various people who came to play: the wannabes – more danger to themselves than to anyone else, the possible threats who obviously knew enough to hit only their intended targets and not everything else, and the kids wanting to have fun. However, pretty much all of them ignorable. Until.

He first saw her at the paintball range as she hobbled from the ladies rest room and everything else around him was momentarily forgotten. He watched her walk towards him, her head down with the occasional glance up as if to make sure she was on track to her destination.

A slightly overweight young woman, standing 156cm tall, in her mid to late teens – early twenties maybe – leant heavily on her darkly painted metal adjustable walking stick. Then she slowly veered to her right towards the picnic tables. She was dressed in a navy blue simple heavy cotton dress with little purple and red flowers and black open toed slip on shoes.

‘Her feet must be freezing.’ The trivial thought caught him by surprise. Deciding to ignore the thought, he continued his inspection of her.

Her dull dark brown hair was tied back away from her face with a thin layer acting as a wispy fringe partially covering her forehead. Even though her hair was tied back he could see it was long, past her shoulder blades. Despite its length there didn’t seem to be much of it, as in not thick. The one thing which saved her hair from being bland, in his opinion, was the faint red highlights that shimmered occasionally in the sunlight as she walked.

Regardless of her weight and dull looking hair, her face was cute in a plain sort of way even though it was etched with pain at that point in time. She wore no makeup as if, maybe, she didn’t care about how people perceived her and, strangely for him, it added a level of attractiveness to her. He hadn’t realised that could attract his attention.

Letting his eyes travel slowly down her body – while he could see she was over-weight the dress fitted her well and showed off the potential for a reasonable figure – he noted her left hand clenched, emphasising the pain he was seeing in her face. Then, he continued down her legs to her feet.

‘There’s the problem. She’s obviously been in an accident of some sort, maybe recently. Her feet don’t sit flat anymore.’

However, while she was wearing shoes, he realised one would have to really look at her feet to notice the problem with them. He noted the weight seemed to be on her heels and on the outer side edges of her feet, and that they turned in slightly. A few of the toes on her right foot were partially clawed and it looked to be permanent.

‘With some nerve damage perhaps, in some way.’

He continued watching. Noting the way she walked with the walking stick suggested her left ankle was worse than her right. Her right leg carried most of her weight as she walked even though she tried adjusting her weight distribution every now and then. Her knee bending and foot lifting were exaggerated as she walked, her feet barely moved in relation to her legs compared to the average person.

‘It would seem she has lost some mobility, flexion, to her ankles.’

In checking her over, he realised she was no threat. She was out of condition – the effort of walking from the ladies to her destination left her sweating despite being winter. Disabled and definitely feminine in her ways, she looked like she didn’t know how to fight back. The young woman was a victim, not a predator. With that assessment he had every intention of dismissing her from mind and sight, but.

Watching her, she joined five other people at one of the tables nearby. He had just started to look away when their eyes locked briefly. Her hand paused in mid motion of taking her drink to her lips. Her lips, minutely parted, were a little pale but looked rather nice with a noticeable cupid’s bow on her upper lip. Now she was close enough he could see them better. Then he noticed the flush creeping across her cheeks.

The six of them were sitting at a table near the kiosk, just an open shed serving basic food and drink with a few picnic tables and bench seats, when she saw him and held her breath. She couldn’t stop staring at him. As far as she was concerned the clear cool June winter’s day had just become a little warmer for her. As if it was planned, to her way of thinking, out of the speakers of the kiosk played the song ‘Breathless’ by The Corrs, and that was the effect he had on her when she caught sight of him.

Judging his height against the white Jeep Grand Cherokee at his back, which he was leaning against, she guessed he was over 185cm tall, give or take a centimetre or more. Unfortunately, judging height and distance weren’t her strong points. His skin seemed like it could be naturally fair, but appeared to be lightly tanned. His sandy brown hair, with gingery highlights, was short cropped with it slightly longer over the forehead, but not too long as to get into his eyes.

© KC Riley-Gyer 2013

Buy Links:

Via Website:

Other Links:
COMING SOON: Cover Reveal shortly
Book 3 -
Changes in Life:
As if struggling with coming to terms of becoming a were-jaguar isn’t enough, Sarah has suddenly become a hot commodity when she gets more than she bargains for from a number of suitors… Including Toby? While the one she wants, wants nothing to do with her as he hightails it to other parts of the country a few hours after she becomes one of the monsters he enjoys hunting for a living. Whether it’s the head jaguar, the vampire Prince of the City or one of the were-leopards, Sarah must keep her wits about her as she becomes sucked in to the world of were-creatures and vampires and their politics.Then there is the issue of the ‘promise’.

Chapter 1″Life isn’t stagnant, never has been and never will be. After 25 years, one would think I would be used to changes, but it’s like someone keeps throwing road blocks in my way. Sometimes I am able to see them in time, others I crash into them in a big way. In all things, life changes, whether we like it or not.” – Sarah.

“Just when one thinks things are going the way one wants them to, something happens and changes the way one looks at, and deals with, things. I guess my choice of lifestyle became the framework for how I react to situations I find myself in; and this is no different. No matter what path one chooses, changes always happen, these changes affect one’s choices and thus one’s sense of justice.” – Kaelan.


It had been four hours since he had walked out of her life for the second time since she’d met him. Two days ago, when she woke up, she had thought the New Year was off to a good start. Today she didn’t want to know about it. There were still almost eleven months left. She hoped it would improve as time went by, but doubted it would. Not now.

Having had next to no sleep during the past two days, since he had told her the hit was a go, she sat at his kitchen table, in his house and she was stuck there. He had all her stuff packed and moved to his house, and the apartment she used to rent was now occupied by someone else. It was still too emotional for her to even think about the house Brandi and Abel had left her in their will; let alone actually go to it. Not only that, but he had set up a new building on his property just for her. Her very own nail bar home business.

‘Damn it, but I have to admit that he did a wonderful job in setting it all up with its own driveway and little car park. At first, I had thought he had just organised its construction, but I saw him working with the other men. Some of whom I recognised; like Scott and Zac. Who could have foreseen this latest particular problem of mine when agreeing to stay in his house.’

Deciding life must go on, she had dragged herself out of bed since she couldn’t sleep. Sitting in her usual spot at the table she stared out the window looking at the bushland and the rain, which was a constant drizzle with everything looking grey. The weather suited her mood; miserable and bleak. With her hands wrapped around her cup of tea, she was building up the courage to pick up the phone to call Antonio. She had to do it. She had no choice. Neither she nor Kaelan had known that the rogue hunters, who had murdered her friends and had attempted to kill her at the end of October last year, had had a therian with them. As a result, neither she nor Kaelan had been armed with silver ammunition when the therian had attacked her. Only him being well armed, had used a shotgun to blow the therian to smithereens, had prevented her from dying.

Since she was back in his house, he obviously succeeded. To a point. There was less than two weeks to go till the next full moon and that didn’t leave much time to learn things before the first change. She sighed, knowing she couldn’t put it off any longer, stood up and headed into the kitchen. Rinsing her cup out, she then grabbed the phone and called Antonio.

“Hello, Antonio here.” A chirpy Italian male voice answered.

“Hi Antonio. It’s Sarah.” She greeted hesitantly.

“SARAH! Shit Luv where the hell have you been.?”

“I.” She didn’t get the chance to say anything more.

“.No one has heard from you in almost three months. We thought you died in that fire at Danny’s place.”


“.You are an inconsiderate cow. You know that don’t you?” He interrupted with a comment only a friend could get away with.

“ANTONIO!” She shouted in exasperation.


“I’m a therian and need your help.” She responded quietly.

“Oh Luv, I’m sorry, but you had us worried you know.” Antonio suddenly sounded upset instead of angry.

© KC Riley-Gyer 2014



Directions Please?


, , , , ,

Todays Spotlight is on Russell Proctor who was born in Queensland, Australia.

He has been everything from a lawyer to a professional actor and teacher. He is currently tutoring part-time and working the rest of the time as a writer. His interests include astronomy, cats and bushwalking.

He has successfully climbed Mount Kilimanjaro and walked the Kokoda Track in his extensive travels around the world. Proctor is a committed skeptic and futurist, and his life-long interest in science and the nature of human thought has inspired him to satirize the quest for our understanding of existence in his novel Plato’s Cave.



Just past actuality and third universe on the left…

Emily Branwell wakes up one morning with a hangover and finds her horoscope is astoundingly accurate, sausages keep appearing out of nowhere all around her, and she can walk through walls. That is confusing enough, but when a huge, threatening shadow appears in the sky, Emily must solve the riddle of her rapidly disintegrating world before reality itself collapses.

In her quest for answers, Emily seeks the help of both psychics and scientists, but finds that ultimately the truth lies far beyond the world anyone knows.

Maybe next time she’ll count her drinks.

Plato’s Cave takes a humorous look at humanity’s search for truth and the meaning of existence through the eyes of someone who wishes the universe would just stop bothering her.

Excerpt from ‘Plato’s Cave’:

© 2012 Russell Proctor

The police sergeant came barrelling through into the kitchen. He wasn’t happy.

“What are you doing with that?” he asked, pointing a rude official finger at the plant Heather held. “That’s a piece of evidence in a police investigation. Put it down, girlie.”

That was his big mistake. If there is anything Heather will not be called, it’s girlie. The fire ignited in her eyes. Deep inside her terrific frame something began to build, something akin to the Big Bang – or to an even Bigger Bang. The spark began very far within her pink-clad exterior, spread like a fire to every fibre and muscle, before finally exploding with irresistible force. I had seen nothing like it since I had accidentally scratched her favourite CD a year ago. I had managed to escape with my life on that occasion. However, I feared greatly for the sergeant.

It all happened too quickly for me to intervene. There was just time for the words “Oh, shit,” to run through my mind before she struck: a right uppercut that connected beautifully, dislodging the sergeant’s cap which flew off and hit the wall. He fell stiff as a board, straight back, landing between the table and the refrigerator. The rest of us stood there, almost as stunned as he was.

Heather shook her hand. “Ow,” she said.

Joanna was the first to recover, perhaps because it was her house and she was worried about further damage.

“I think it’s time to go,” she said.

The plan for getting to my house was simple. If it worked, we would be away and free. If not, all of us would probably be spending the night in jail. Which, as Heather pointed out, might actually be the safest place around at the moment.

I suddenly realised they were now supporting me. Once they had stated their opposition to my intention of re-entering the circle, they were on my side. Of course, they weren’t the ones who would be going in, and maybe they just felt that if I vanished like the pizza man, they would be rid of me once and for all. They could go down to the coffee shop and chuckle about how they put one over poor old Emily.

Once it takes root, paranoia is a hardy plant indeed.

The policeman in the yard was arguing with the Maestro, who was trying to open the door of David’s car. Of course, the sergeant had given orders that none of us were to leave, but that was a minor problem as far as the Maestro was concerned. “You had better help the çavuş,” he called, and pointed towards the house where the unconscious sergeant lay.

The policeman turned away from the Maestro long enough for him to slam the car door and start up. The rest of us piled in there with him, David patting his pockets and wondering how the Maestro had acquired his car keys. But he realised it was no time to argue the issue. He climbed in the back with Heather and Joanna; I sat next to the Maestro. We locked the doors hastily.

Fraser had one of those pesky gun-shaped objects hanging off his belt which make things so awkward when you’re trying to sneak away quietly from something illegal. He paused for a moment, then placed his hand on the butt, but didn’t draw it. Perhaps he wasn’t sure of his authority in detaining us. We hadn’t threatened him in any way.

He hammered on the door of the car, calling for us to open up.

“Let’s go!” I shouted at the Maestro.

“They have blocked off the driveway,” said the Maestro, revving the engine. “I am sorry,
Joanna’cığım,” he muttered under his breath as he floored the accelerator and we took off forwards, straight towards the back fence.

“No!’ screamed Joanna, but it was too late as we skirted the Poinciana tree and hit the back fence at about thirty kilometres an hour. It was constructed of wooden posts and folded very nicely under the impact of the bull-bar mounted on the front of the car. We drove into the neighbour’s property, turning left just before the swimming pool, and headed down their driveway. The gate had been left open, and there were no cars in the way. The Maestro drove out into the street, turned right, and accelerated.

Joanna was scowling behind me. I was expecting another withering blast of Turkish to be flung in the Maestro’s direction, but she was menacingly quiet. Too quiet. Scary stuff quiet. I flinched at the thought of what was to come when there was time to complain, and took the opportunity to put my head out of the window and glance up at the Gap.

Things weren’t too good up there, either. It had changed, just as Max had warned.

The straight edges weren’t straight anymore. Thin streaks had emerged from the main mass of blackness and were spiralling away, obscuring more sky. I didn’t like the look of it at all. The streaks looked almost purposeful, like the Gap knew what we were doing and wanted to stop us. Some of the streaks looked like they were reaching down towards us. I was reminded of the ruler in the circle, as if there were more than three visible dimensions to the thing.

I pulled my head back into the car. Everywhere I looked, the view was disturbing. Even here.

The Maestro was driving too fast for safety, and slamming through the gears in a way that wasn’t at all good for them. Or for us, perhaps.

It was only a matter of time before the police tracked us down. None of us had any desire to be in a car chase, as they almost always ended badly for the people in front. I’d watched those reality shows on TV, the ones where they show you the results of police pursuits: “World’s Most Pathetic Morons Behind a Wheel”. That sort of thing. Final shots lingering over a pile of twisted metal and shattered glass, with occupants bisecting power poles.

I wondered what the Turkish was for “For God’s sake slow down!” then decided it sounded urgent enough in English.

“For God’s…” I began, until a particularly violent swerve, by means of which the Maestro managed to avoid an aforesaid power pole, made me change the ending. “…sake, look where you’re going!”

David was being thrown around in the back seat. “Do you actually have a licence?” he asked breathlessly. But the Maestro was concentrating too hard.

Then the car chase started, just as we crossed the bridge over Breakfast Creek. I heard the siren behind us. This time I didn’t look around. There was no need to confirm what my ears told me, and Heather was giving a running commentary anyway. My eyes stayed glued to the road, since the Maestro seemed to feel that was a fairly low priority when driving, and one of us should be doing it. He was staring hard into the rear-view mirror most of the time.

“They’re about two hundred metres behind us,” said Heather. “One car. Lights and everything.”

“Left!” I called out to the Maestro and he swung the wheel just in time. The tyres on the right side of the car left the asphalt momentarily, then came back down with a bounce as we entered the new street, heading for the apartment blocks in Teneriffe. This was turning into an action movie, and I was on the wrong side of the screen.

“They made the turn, too,” said Heather. “They’re gaining on us.”

The ongoing commentary from the back seat was not comforting. If I shut my eyes really, really tight, and took three deep breaths, maybe everything would just go away.

I tried it.

No good. Reality stubbornly continued to exist. It had a nasty habit of doing that.

“Let’s take the Captain Cook Bridge,” I said. “It’s the easiest.”

The Maestro actually looked at me as he veered across the centre white line and asked, “Who is this Captain Cook?”

I grabbed the wheel and moved us into legality again. “We drive on the left in this country!” I shouted into his face. He took my panic well, far better than I had, actually, and even seemed pleased to know a new road rule. He kept on the left while the rest of us argued the way.

“But that means going through the city,” said Heather. “Head for the Story Bridge.”

“The city will make it harder for them to chase us,” David said.

“And there are more things to crash into,” persisted Heather.

We had veered through a few more corners, managing to find our way back in vaguely the right direction. Around us, the inner suburbs were still happening. The Gap hung over everything, and the crowds and alarm that it caused was about to save us from further pursuit, at least for the moment. As we entered Fortitude Valley a gang of about six young men were looting a shop. They had driven a car into the front window and were climbing over the hood to snatch what they could. Electrical goods it looked like. In any event, the police car stopped and we didn’t, heading further in. I glanced behind but all I could see were the heads of David, Joanna and Heather as they, too, peered out the back window.

“Maybe they weren’t after us at all,” said Heather.

Who cared? Crime had apparently reaped dividends, even if it wasn’t for the people actually committing it. We were alone.


Links to this site are also available from my website.
Press Release:

Contact: Russell Proctor
P.O. Box 78, Hamilton Central Queensland Australia 4007
+61 404797274

Lighthearted novel suggests that the eternal quest to understand the nature of reality and the meaning of existence just might be doomed from the start.PCapic

Brisbane novelist Russell Proctor doesn’t mind poking a bit of good-natured fun at pseudo-science, nor does he shy away from highlighting the problems science has with finding meaning in the world. In his latest novel, this committed skeptic and futurist puts his lifelong interest in science and astronomy to work to gently satirize humanity’s enduring efforts to explain the nature of reality and the meaning of existence.

The humorous and philosophical Plato’s Cave begins with Emily Branwell, an otherwise normal university student, who awakens one morning to find that her horoscope is shockingly accurate, that sausages keep appearing out of thin air all around her, that she can walk through walls, and that with the exception of a very peculiar plant named Mike, the interior of her house has vanished.

PCbpicA bit flummoxed by these random and rather inconvenient incidents, Emily decides to get some help, but neither Joanna Clifford, the psychic who wrote the horoscope, nor Turhan Birgili, a Turkish wizard, have any idea what’s going on. When an ominous black shadow appears in the sky, Emily consults astronomer Max Fisher and physicist David Nabarlambarl. They too come up empty-handed, and it becomes clear that these crazy occurrences might just be beyond anyone’s understanding.

When the shadow appears in the sky for a third time, widespread panic ensues. In a world that is rapidly disintegrating before her, Emily must not only make sense of what’s happening to herself but also to the universe. However, what she discovers might very well mean that everyone has been looking for answers in the wrong places. Or, as Emily herself puts it, “Reality is just the beginning.”

Proctor comments, “I was first introduced to Plato’s allegory of the cave in his book Republic at university and found the image, and its revelations, haunting.” He adds, “My novel is a sort of cross between science fiction and philosophy in that it engages both genres in examining our quest for the meaning of existence. It does this in a light-hearted way that should appeal to most people. At the same time, it is also a cosmic mystery that invites readers to work out what is happening to the main character.”

“[Plato’s Cave is] a very well-researched and hilarious cosmic whodunit…By the time I was halfway through, I was literally reading this on the bus, walking down the street, every break at work! It’s brilliant and I could see a television version being a cult classic. If you have a teenager who thinks science is dull, buy them this book. It’s a really clever combination of science, new-age belief, humor, and knowledge. I admire a writer who can combine all that into an easy, enjoyable read!”  - Review by SundayGirl, 5 out of 5 stars

Current WIP:
I am currently writing a horror/fantasy series set in Edwardian London and featuring a grown-up Alice from Alice Adventures in Wonderland and Dorothy Gale from The Wonderful Wizard of Oz as they battle a supernatural serial killer. The first volume is called The Red King, followed by An Unkindness of Ravens and The Looking-Glass War. The series will be released by Permuted Press beginning at the end of 2014.
I also have another book available from Amazon. Days of Iron is a science-fiction novel about terrorism in the future. A sequel is due for release in 2016.
Also in the planning stages is a horror/fantasy series The Maegri, about a race of time-travellers engaged in a civil war.
Further details about these and about myself can be found at my website, There is also a sign-up page where people can register to receive my newsletter.



Nargun – An Australian Novel


, , , ,

I don’t usually have such long posts but Ian Lipke is a fascinating Author with an equally fascinating book and I felt to leave anything out would be an injustice. I hope you read all of this and enjoy.

1About the Author 

Ian Lipke became a teacher of primary children in 1958, transferring to secondary schools in 1964. He has taught in schools in remote and metropolitan areas of Queensland, Australia.

He left school teaching in 1977 to lecture at the University of Queensland and at Queensland University of Technology.

Throughout the late 1980s and 1990s he was a deputy principal at several high schools, before retiring to manage his own tutoring business.

In 2006 he returned to postgraduate studies through research at the University of Queensland.

His whole life has been devoted to academic studies which he very much enjoys.

He has co-written two textbooks for older school children, a novel called Nargun that depicts aboriginal-white confrontation in early nineteenth century Queensland, and at the time of writing was president of the University of the Third Age, Brisbane. While carrying out his administrative duties, he has written and published a crime novel called Lest Evil Prevail. A third novel, Family Matters, has been accepted for publication. His books are available for purchase at

In addition to his administrative responsibilities he coordinates the ‘words’ section of M/C Reviews, a highly commended online journal ( that is the brain-child of Dr Axel Bruns of Queensland University of Technology, Brisbane. In 2014 he conducted a seminar on the self-publishing industry, an area that he has made his own.

Ian has a wife, two children, and two grandchildren.


Nargun (Blurb)

About the Book1

For many the turbulent history that shaped early Australia has been forgotten. The victorious wrote the history books, and the voices of the vanquished were silenced. The invasion and conquest of the land and the near genocide of the indigenous people were events that rarely receive mention.

Ellie Matthews’ academic research drew her to the culture and history of the first inhabitants of Southeast Queensland. One day she receives a poorly written letter that causes her to drive over rough roads to meet with an old aboriginal man who tells her the story of Nargun, a man of the forgotten Galanga people, one of the greatest aboriginal warriors of his day, a war chief caught up in the collision between two cultures and two worlds. In Garunna’s tale, Nargun once more leads his people into battle while, at the same time, revealing the path of forbidden love that rewrites Ellie’s own history.

The excerpt that follows introduces Nargun as a young man in the act of first meeting his mentor:


A single footprint pressed into the ground, clear evidence that someone had crept along the stony ridge towards the small stream that trickled from the foothills of the Brimstone Ranges. No member of Nargun’s clan had left such a mark. None of the children came this way, yet the footprint was that of a child. Curious, Nargun studied the area around the print with great care and interest. Throughout most of his sixteen summers he had been taught by Guterangi, the master tracker, to read the story of the bush. He crouched and lowered his face until it almost touched the ground. He sighted along the surface and immediately spotted a tiny scuffing of dirt such as might have been made by a kangaroo or bush wallaby. He knew he would have disregarded it, if he had not seen the child’s footprint nearby. Guterangi would be pleased with his clever reading of the signs.

Casting wider in search of an explanation, he picked out the faint suggestion of a concealed track. A small party had passed this way, one that did not want to be observed, too few to be hunters, certainly no war party. The presence of a child made that impossible. Instinct and tribal law required him to investigate these unfamiliar signs, but Nargun also knew that he would have to inform the clan of his actions and whereabouts. Therefore, he placed several small rocks on the path and used a sharpened stick to point the direction he intended to travel. He knew that when the guards came to relieve him they would read his signal. Checking that his war club was secured at his side, his axe and spears easily available to him, his mind alert for danger, he set out to identify the strangers travelling across his land.

There was something about these tracks that made him uneasy. For a moment, he wondered if the signs had been placed for him to find, a test perhaps, but he dismissed the idea as unlikely. Nargun opened his nostrils to the light breeze as he had been taught when trying to detect a scent. He smelt nothing but wattle and gum tree. He listened, but apart from the chirping of crickets and the snuffling of some larger animal, which he quickly identified as a wild pig, there was nothing unusual to suggest that there was any danger near at hand. He took particular note of the position of the sun. It had traversed a large part of the sky on its daily journey to bed with the mountains in the west. Nargun quickly reasoned that the intruders could not have entered Galanga lands during the daylight hours. Even the laziest of the guards would have sighted a party crossing into their territory in daylight.

Nargun paused for a momentbut then shrugged off as foolish the notion that the intruders might be visitors from the spirit world. Although such ghostly figures always preferred to move through the country at night, they were never known to leave signs of their passing. It made sense that the makers of the tracks must have entered under cover of darkness and lain hidden in the scrub until they had taken the decision to move in the slowly fading light of day. He tracked steadily onward, sharp eyes picking up the occasional overturned leaf that should not have settled on that particular stony ridge, his spear ready to do battle if the occasion presented itself. Soon the direction of the travellers’ path became clear.

The shadows were lengthening. A wagtail and a bluish-green parrot fluttered through the bushes in that lethargic way they had of resting during the afternoon heat before feeding again as night began to fall. Nargun’s quarry was heading towards the creek that trickled from the base of mighty Beerwah, the mother of all mountains. Nargun realised the intruders were searching for a place to camp for the night. He moved in total silence towards the creek, his heart thumping loudly in his chest. The signs now showed that he was on the trail of a party of three, a man, a woman and a child. The care with which the tracks were hidden suggested the skilled presence of a woman.

What would Guterangi do? Nargun thought, as visions of his younger days spent learning the craft of the bush under the old man’s strict discipline, flashed through his mind. I couldn’t have spotted them unless they’d made the mistake with the footprint. They were careless. That may cost them their lives.

A light breeze touched his cheek and went on to stir the dust on the rocky ridge. Silver-tipped leaves in the light scrub land nearby whispered among themselves, but Nargun could not understand what they might be saying. Hmm … now the strangers wander from the easy path… are they weary, I wonder? They’re not stupid – their tracks are too well concealed for the most part. Well, they won’t escape me. He thought of the great stories that would be told of his courage and his prowess as a reader of signs. He scratched his head and murmured aloud. “There’s something odd about this track… what are they doing?”

A mud lark, startled by Nargun’s movement, complained loudly at being so rudely interrupted as she began feeding. Moving quickly away from the noise, Nargun dislodged a rock, and he cursed his carelessness. Guterangi would have punished that foolish mistake, he thought, and was pleased his old teacher was not with him. “Pee-wee, shh,” Nargun whispered to the fluttering bird. “You want to tell everybody about me?” He waited until the lark had become accustomed to his presence before moving on slowly.

The creek was very close now. Nargun crouched and scanned the scrub ahead. It was near to nightfall and he strained in the gloom to catch any sign of his quarry. There! A tiny flicker of light, such as that given off by a camp fire well concealed in the dense undergrowth. He crept closer, very close, ever cautious not to alert his foes to his presence. He made his way like a wraith, silent and unchallenged. His keen nose picked up the faintest trace of wood smoke, and he paused. He was more alert than he had ever been.

A feeling, a sense of immediate danger, suddenly washed over him. There was danger here. Yet his senses told him the danger was not from the direction of the wafting fumes of the fire. He shifted his weight on to his front foot, preparatory to his next move to turn around to check his rear, when suddenly, the snake struck. Nargun had failed to notice its black skin and red belly in the tall grass beside the creek. He gasped with the sudden pain and immediately the bush around him fell silent. The snake had struck the little toe on his right foot before slithering away. Nargun knew he was in serious trouble. A sufficient dose of the reptile’s venom could kill him.

Preoccupied with the growing terror now coursing through his body, he failed to notice the imminent danger he had sensed, until he felt the point of a spear at the nape of his neck. He froze, and waited. His discovery by the people he had been tracking could now have deadly consequences long before the poison of the snake took effect. Slowly, he turned around. A tall man stood before him, the age of the cicatrices carved into his chest at an initiation ritual long ago, revealing that he was a seasoned warrior of a people unknown to Nargun. He was a striking figure, hard muscle rippling beneath his skin with each slight movement. His gaze was harsh and forbidding, and Nargun feared that the stranger’s eyes could penetrate deep into his mind and read his most secret thoughts.

Fully alert, the man quickly and with great caution, confiscated Nargun’s weapons and then jerked his chin in the direction of his camp fire. With no escape possible, Nargun did as he was directed, trying to hide the terrible pain that seemed to be flowing slowly from his toe towards his leg. At the fire, the stranger held a spear firmly at Nargun’s shoulder blades and motioned for his captive to sit. Nargun saw immediately that this was not the strangers’ camp, but merely served as a device to lure him in for eventual capture.

Like a fish to a line I took his bait, Nargun silently cursed. And missed that snake! I’m likely to die for such foolish mistakes.

He looked around. Without a word, a young woman of some twenty-five summers moved out of the darkness from where she had watched as he limped into the light of the camp fire. She studied him and then stared intently at his injured foot. Nargun saw her glance up at the warrior, her husband.

“Snake bite,” the man answered in a tongue that Nargun understood. “He’ll be very sick by sunrise,” the woman muttered. “We need to treat that wound now.” Her tongue was easy to understand. The woman glanced at her husband and he nodded his head in agreement at her unspoken question.

While the woman prepared to bathe the wound, Nargun’s captor went to a wild cherry tree which grew nearby and, with the edge of his axe, gouged a tiny opening in the bark. He removed some of the tree sap and carried it in his open palm to his wife. She poured the sticky liquid directly on to the wound, and quickly applied a paste of mud and additional sap. Then she gathered the broad leaves of a nearby tree, and vines from a creeper growing in profusion at the water’s edge, and bound Nargun’s leg tightly to a solid branch to immobilise it.

Nargun watched them both without a word. His pride had been hurt. He had allowed himself to be outsmarted by a more experienced man. It rankled that someone had caught him, Guterangi’s prize pupil, with such little effort. A little boy of about eight summers emerged from the darkness. Tentatively, ready to run if the stranger made a hostile move, the little boy obeyed his mother’s order and offered Nargun a drink from the stream. The snake bite was already making his throat dry and his temples ache, and so he accepted the offering with gratitude.

“Who are you? What are you doing in my tribal lands?” Nargun asked the man.

“My name is Gomerrigal,” the man replied. “This is my wife, Mamre, and our son, Jandarra. I see that you are a young man of the Galanga clan.” He nodded towards the newly healed scars on Nargun’s chest. “We mean no harm,” he went on. “We are of the Jukambe and travel north to seek a new home. Mamre will douse this fire and hide you farther along the creek where no one will find our camp. Eat well, then rest. You will soon feel the effects of the black snake’s anger. We will talk after the sun has risen.” Mamre glanced at her husband’s back as he slipped away between the trees.

“He’ll cover our tracks and keep watch now,” she murmured to Nargun. “If your people find us, they will kill us. We must stay hidden until you are well again.” As she spoke she rummaged in her dilly-bag and, selecting what she wanted, mixed a herb into the water she had been heating over the tiny camp fire. “Drink this,” she commanded. “The paste will draw out the badness, and this will help relieve the pain.” Nargun hesitated before complying. He glanced around for his weapons but they had been removed from sight. He watched as Mamre doused the flames and then carefully concealed all signs of their presence. With the woman helping him, he crawled for a considerable distance along the banks of the creek. No tracks marked their passing. Mamre made sure of that. He wondered once more whether the signs that he had seen were indeed meant for him, but was too fatigued to continue with the puzzle.

Settled finally deep within the shrubs lining the creek bank, he began to drowse and was soon asleep. As the night wrapped its arms about the sleeping mother and her young son, Jandarra, Nargun was briefly aware of the woman waking him to drink more of the herbal mixture. He wrinkled his nose in disgust but, shaking uncontrollably with the fever that ravaged his body, slipped back into tormented sleep. He cried out as dreams haunted him and was only vaguely aware of severe pain, and then a woman’s warm, soft body cradled him and he lapsed into unconsciousness again. As the early light appeared, Nargun woke, more recovered from the effects of the bite but still greatly weakened. His muscles ached, and his body protested every movement. The woman was sleeping and the little boy was playing quietly in the mud on the banks of the stream. The boy sprang to his feet and moved close to his father when he noticed that the captive’s eyes were upon him. Nargun glanced around and saw the piercing eyes of Gomerrigal watching.

Without a word, Gomerrigal offered him liquid. Nargun drank, for he was fiendishly thirsty. He indicated he wanted to relieve himself and, when Gomerrigal nodded towards the scrub nearby, he rose unsteadily to his feet before staggering over to a clump of long grass where he relieved the pressure on his bladder. He returned to the camp and sat facing his captor.

“My name is Nargun,” he said. “You are trespassing on Galanga land. You must know that my people will hunt you down and kill you for being here.”

Gomerrigal stared into Nargun’s face and then answered. “What you say is true,” he agreed. “Your warriors have been close by here several times already, looking for you. They have not found your tracks, and are puzzled by your disappearance. But my family has little choice.”

The sound of his voice showed the dreadful emotion that burned within his heart. “The lands of the Jukambe are overrun by white men, strangers who come in big boats in ever larger numbers. They destroy our lands; they build fences and large huts and dig up the earth without ceasing. They are greedy and powerful, and they have sticks that puff smoke and kill. They rape our women and kill our young men and laugh as my people die. They bring terrible sicknesses we have never seen before and our herbs and medicine men are useless against them. We die and they don’t care. They treat us as animals, worse than animals.” Nargun shivered at the bitterness in Gomerrigal’s voice. He found himself imagining what it must be like to be driven from the only homeland he had ever known. Could death at the hands of an enemy be preferable to remaining behind to fight alongside the warriors Gomerrigal had known from boyhood?

Nargun moved uneasily. He had heard whispers of men with white skin hanging around the red cliffs of Fishers Inlet, of strange canoes passing through the passage where, from the time of his distant forefathers, his people had harvested rich deposits of pumice stone. While not understanding the reason, he knew that apprehension, and in some cases fear, gripped his people as they tried to find out the intentions of these strange, white devils from farther south. Rumours had circulated that these men were evil, that they were despoilers of the earth which was mother to all living things, and Nargun’s leader, Wumbali, was troubled and conferred often with the tribal elders on what to do if his people met these strange beings.

Gomerrigal’s bitterness spewed forth in a torrent. “Your people are so unaware,” he snapped, “as we once were. Like you, we culled the possums, wallabies and kangaroos, enough to meet our needs, and then moved on as the seasons changed under the direction of the mighty spirit, Dhakkan. We shared our lives with great gum and flowering wattle, with bush that gave up the honey left there by the bees, and with ferns, all growing strong and upright across our lands. But now, where once the footprints of men and women, who passed through the shades into the spirit world rested undisturbed, and dense scrub gave way to rolling plains of grass as high as a man’s chest, where my people set fires to burn away the old growth so that Dhakkan could breathe into the land once more, and life burst from the seeds littered throughout the soil…all is now scoured and gone.”

Nargun said nothing and let silence develop between them. Mamre awoke and tended the fire. She began to prepare a meal. As his woman worked, Gomerrigal spoke once more. “I could have stayed and watched my family die, my wife torn by these white devils. Or we could move out of our lands and hope that others of our kind would allow us to live among them. That is what we have chosen to do. I seek your leaders to ask if we can stay with the Galanga people. I watched you and your fellow warriors guarding your borders, and I sought one of you to come to me. I needed to explain our wants to you so that you can tell your leader that we wish to join your people. We were prepared to wait, well hidden, for his answer. What I hadn’t planned on was the snake and the delay this would cause.”

“How did you know I was following you?” Nargun asked. “I tracked you since the sun was high.”

“I know how clever you thought you were when you spotted that single footprint. But in truth Mamre left it there for you to find. We did not make it easy for fear you might think you were being tested by your own people.” Gomerrigal suddenly chuckled. “You are an excellent tracker, young Nargun. I have lived for many summers and rarely have I seen a youth as clever as you at following the tracks we left you to find. As I watched, I had to tell Mamre to make our trail more and more difficult. Your elders must be very proud of their people if they are all like you.” He paused. “The snake was not part of our plan,” he added again.

Mamre handed the two men a meal of some berries, nuts and a meat that tasted like lizard, and Nargun suddenly realized he was hungry. He thanked her, ate the food with the help of a broad leaf and his fingers, and drank heavily from a bowl she had given him. “Your hunters are coming ever closer. They do not relent in their search for you. They know you are near,” Gomerrigal commented. “They are good enough to find us?” It was part question, part statement.

“Soon,” Nargun boasted. “They don’t track as well as I do, but they will eventually find you. Perhaps you don’t have to die. If you want to meet the elders of my people, I can take you to them.” Gomerrigal looked at Nargun and then glanced briefly at his wife. Mamre gave a quick nod, and Gomerrigal answered.

“I see by your markings that you have recently passed through the final stage of the ceremonies initiating you into manhood, and already you stand guard over the southern boundaries of your tribal lands. Your elders must respect your abilities since they have given you the responsibility of guarding a vulnerable border. So, we will accept your offer, Nargun. If it is to be death at the hands of your people, then we accept Dhakkan’s will. We have nowhere else to go.”

Nargun nodded at the gravity of the announcement. He also knew the custom that he was obliged to follow after having his life saved by another. “You have saved my life and fed me. Return my weapons. You have shown that Gomerrigal is a mighty hunter and Mamre a fine provider. I will take you to Wumbali, the leader of the elders, and speak of your kindness when my carelessness might have caused my death.”

Gomerrigal glanced at his wife but Mamre shook her head. “He is too weak,” she said. “He must rest another day. He is not yet well enough to travel.”

With a nod, the older man assented. Sitting and talking was sufficient to make Nargun feel much weaker as the effects of the snakebite brought on further fatigue. Throughout the day, they waited, careful to make no sound, as Nargun fought to regain his strength. Several times, warriors probed the perimeter of their camp but moved on without discovering the Jukambe family and the sleeping youth. As evening fell, Nargun awoke and had again to swallow more of Mamre’s foul mixture.

Next morning, the small group broke camp and Nargun, with his health restored enough to attempt the journey back to his village, led them through the scrub and taller timbers of the forest. He disturbed the busy sounds of the birds with a call of “Cooee!” that echoed through the hills, and soon the worried faces of his clansmen appeared out of the bush.

Enjoy? Want More? I do.

61pH8rkkJhL._SL1125_Review 1

To find this review of Nargun, go to

Draft Review 2 (to be submitted to the url above when fixed)


Reviewed by Martin Knox (author of Love Straddle)

In Nargun, author Ian Lipke has written an historical, fictional account of the aborigines’ response to white settlement in the Maroochy hinterland of Queensland. My reading has authenticated the plausibility of the narrative from records of subsequent events and anthropological investigations at other locations where aborigines lived and suffered from settlement by whites.

There is dissent amongst commentators on the preparedness of aborigines for conflict and their military success in opposition to armed incursions by settlers.

[The point needs to be made that Lipke goes out of his way to stress that his is a work of fiction. There is no suggestion of subterfuge – the Afterword makes clear that, in the aboriginal psyche (at least in Victoria) a Nargun was believed to exist, but Lipke discovered this only when the novel had been completed. Note the following:

“Matter related to aboriginal customs might have been true but are mostly the fictional outpourings of a writer’s mind. If they fit the story, they have a place in it.”

“Nargun lives in a world of fiction but, who knows, his story may well have been true.” (both quotes from the introductory pages of the book). If the story warranted it, then the author deliberately took liberties with the facts of aboriginal life and custom]

The story describes the lifestyle of an aboriginal encampment before Europeans arrived. It was mostly peaceful as the people went about their routines. Lipke’s story focuses on the infrequent fights with neighbours, itinerants trespassing on their traditional territory and white settlers coming from the south to take over their lands.

The story is summarised as follows.

A young academic hears a stirring story from the lips of an old aboriginal elder. She tells the story of Nargun. Nargun is a young warrior who through his tracking and fighting skills rises to be an elder and war chief of his clan. His supporters include his parents and the huge man Bukbunna. Nargun expects to marry Woreena, but she is killed through a peer’s treachery. Mary, a white settler’s daughter, comes into his life and runs away from her brute of a father to be with him. For three amorous seasons she lives as a native, naked, until the elders insist she is taken home. There she tries to plead for the aborigines’ humanity and rights but the message falls on deaf ears.

In the first half of the book, Nargun and the Galanga are concerned with the predations of their Muareg and Maroochy neighbours. The threat from white settlers is distant but arrives in force in the second half. Linking the two, the main plot concerns Mary, who loves Nargun. His loyalty to his wife limits his response. The tribe make him take Mary home. This single act symbolises the enmity that climaxes in the slaughter and near extinction of the clan.

Lipke has depicted important events that could have occurred near the Glasshouse Mountains area of Queensland early in the 19th century. In the review that follows are comments relating Nargun to other historical aboriginal fiction of the times.

The literature abounds with accounts of aboriginal lifestyles at the time of invasion by Europeans. Lipke provides important details of idyllic camp life for these nomadic Australian aborigines. They depended on a wide range of foods they hunted and gathered in the natural environment before moving on. It is a story revealing how aborigines were living when they first encountered white settlers, before they had realised that there would be no compromise in ownership of the land. Aborigines fought for their land against the invaders, just as they had against neighbouring tribes. It was winner-takes-all guerrilla warfare with pitched battles.

Other books and movies showing aborigines before the coming of the white men seem to have glossed over their prodigious fighting skills as if they either were not able to use them or did not try, with some suggestion of cowardice. For example the movie Ten Canoes (2010) focussed on conflict within the clan. My own book, The Grass Is Always Browner, (Zeuss, 2011), extols their unique sharing traditions that extended even to reciprocal sharing with neighbouring tribes, so that they could cross their land and get access to water and food in a drought. Ian Lipke’s novel diminishes that perspective, with a story that describes their frequent involvement in tracking and fighting.

In Lipke’s story, an aboriginal clan is shown to be preoccupied with guarding its territory and its resources, resulting in battles with adjoining tribes in which many warriors are killed, their women stolen, with their children and old folk hidden away in fear of their lives. There is collaboration between tribes in resisting the white man. Some books focus on the early cooperation with white settlers that took place. Later on, when the usurper herded them onto concentration camps such as at Cherbourg in Queensland, stories such as those in Albert Holt’s book Forcibly Removed, (Magabala, 2001), suggest that the survivors clung to their separate tribal identities during privations and rarely united in opposition against their oppressor. In Mullumbimby, Lucashenko tells of a looming native title war in northern New South Wales, between aboriginal families who inherit land neglected by whites in recent times. In similar vein, Jessica White in her novel Entitlement (Penguin, 2013), describes the gentle and combat-averse inheritors of lands that white men no longer care for.

These aborigines are chalk and cheese from those Lipke writes about.

‘…The few men who escaped staggered to Tibrogargan’s base and hid in the heavy scrub there. They regrouped as the night wore on.

‘It is as bad as I thought it might be,’ Nargun muttered. ‘We still have two choices,’ he told the men. ‘We can steal away under cover of darkness and try to find a new home somewhere away from here, or we can take the fight to the whites while they think they have beaten us.’

Bukbunna’s rage at the death of his family and friends boiled over. ‘There is no choice for me,’ he roared. ‘I will fight here this very night, and if Dhakkan calls, I will die! I will not live while these savages roam my lands. I will kill them!’ There were murmurs of agreement, every man seeking vengeance.

‘Then we go after them now,’ Nargun ordered, ‘while they are gloating over their victory….’ 

I found Nargun to be a page-turning story of an idyllic lifestyle marred by adventurous inter-tribal warfare with cataclysmic conflict with white settler militias in prospect. The ecological wonderland of Australia’s eastern coast is revealed, in eucalypt woodlands and rainforests.

Keith Windschuttle’s book ‘The Fabrication of Aboriginal History’ Volume 1, 2002, has fuelled the controversy between the two camps. It is a scholarly work and his dismissal of the supposed genocide in Tasmania is consistent with Lipke’s portrayal of a warrior race beaten by diseases and superior arms.

Lipke’s story contains true geographical features, legends and historical personages. The aboriginal customs are often fictional but accord with my previous knowledge from my reading. The characters, both aboriginal and white, have depth and are believable. The author creates suspense from threats of violence and sustains them as Nargun prepares for and teaches how to resist the incursions by either defence or attack.

The story has wonderful descriptions of flora and fauna and the minute signs the hero uses to track enemies. There is also lovely detail describing how he prepares his weapons. In the preparations for fighting, Nargun and his people are shown to understand the psychology of their foes and apply sophisticated strategies to defence and attack. There is nothing of the gentle and naive natives, whose peacefulness some writers have revered when deducing genocide. The whites are shown to be unfeeling and barbaric, with very few exceptions. Perhaps if there had been better white leadership, the aborigines might have been respected, as the Maoris were in NZ. But there were fewer indigenous Australians and the war-game was zero sum from the start. Nargun might be regarded as pessimistic in relation to contemporary aboriginal aspirations for land ownership but that would be a superficial evaluation.

Nargun is a tale that celebrates a resilient culture and fighting spirit that contemporary aborigines can hope to regain, with the encouragement of other Australians. But commentators who froth at the mouth when confronted by practices that are questionable should take a cold shower and remember that they were warned that this is a work of fiction with a tale that is meant to be enjoyed.

Other informal comments:

“An imaginative reconstruction of a sordid period in our nation’s history. We are swept along with Nargun on his quest for the freedom to live as his people had always done. The narrative surges like a king tide and leaves us stranded on the beach of life, somewhat lessened by the tragedy that has unfolded.”

“A fantastic, fictitious account of the life and times of a mythical leader in indigenous Australia. Nargun epitomises all the manly virtues. An excellent story for all those men and women who love an old-fashioned romantic adventure.”


by Ian Lipke,

ISBN 9781291499216

Recommended price $22.99; 276 pages.




The Eyes Of Bast


, ,

The Eyes of Bast by Lisabet Sarai Sarai-TheEyesOfBast3-700x1050

Serial Love:

The Eyes of Bast was an experiment. I created the novella as a serial, writing and posting a chapter each month as part of my regular website update. I’ve never tried this approach before. Although I’m usually more of a plotter than a pantster, I had very little idea about what would happen next. Each month, I’d reread the previous installment, to help me maintain continuity, and then I’d just sit down and write whatever came to mind.

The process was remarkably liberating. I could set my imagination free.

The bulk of what I write is targeted for a particular publisher and often, a specific call for submissions. I usually have a predefined theme and both a minimum and maximum word count. These constraints shape my creative process. My internal editor is constantly active. Would the publisher object to this language? Was I taking too long to get to the clinch? Was my take on the theme close enough to satisfy the requirements?

With The Eyes of Bast, I was writing for my own pleasure – and of course that of my readers. The story could be as long (or short) as it needed to be. I could write sweet or raunchy, depending on my mood.  I could introduce plot twists as they occurred to me, without worrying too much about plausibility.

I was writing purely for the fun of it. What a novel concept!

I’m actually pretty pleased with the way the tale turned out. I especially like the dramatic ending, which borrows a bit from horror tales. And I’m delighted by the depths my villain ultimately revealed. I have a problem writing bad guys (or in this case, bad girls). Delphine Montserrat is one of my better evil-doers.

I hope my readers agree.




Paranormal/shapeshifter erotic romance

Approximately 54 pages

Published by Books We Love, Ltd.

May, 2014




Trust your heart. Follow your dreams.

Shaina Williams’ grandmother bequeathed her that wisdom, along with a old pendant from the Islands, carved from an ocelot’s tooth. When instinct tells Shaina to visit the feral cat trap she’d set in Central Park, she listens to that inner voice. She discovers she’s caged a magnificent black tom, but the cat inexplicably vanishes after she tends to his wounds. Seeking the errant feline, Shaina encounters instead a handsome stranger whose slightest touch sets her body on fire. As the day dawns after a night of ferocious passion, her mysterious lover is forced back into his true shape – the tomcat she’d rescued.

Born a cat, Tom was transformed into an unwilling shape shifter by a sorceress who craved a human plaything to satisfy her perverse lusts. Centuries old and irresistibly powerful, Delphine Montserrat will stop at nothing to find her runaway familiar. Shaina vows to do whatever is necessary to defeat the vicious but seductive witch and save the man she believes is her soul mate – even though it might mean losing him forever.


Tom finally broke the kiss and leaned back with a sigh. “Ah, Shaina! I should never have allowed you near me. But I was so very lonely… I wasn’t thinking straight. Now I’ve put you in danger too.”

“Danger? What kind of danger?” I reached over to flick the switch on my reading lamp, so I could read his expressions. Then I seated myself cross-legged at his feet and clasped his hands in mine. “Tell me, Tom. Tell me everything.”

“You will not believe me.”

“How could I not believe after – after what I saw this morning?”

His brows knotted together. “I never wanted you to see – I was careless…”

“But I did see. And now I know, at least something about you. But I don’t know enough to help you out of whatever trouble you’re in. Tell me the whole truth. I promise I’ll keep it private, if that’s what you want. And I promise I won’t be shocked.”

Tom’s lush mouth twisted in a grimace of disgust. “You might not be able to keep that promise. But never mind. You’ve asked. I’ll tell you.”

He stared off into the distance, above my head. “I was born in a small town in coastal Maine, about seven years ago.”

“Seven years…?”

“I was born a cat.”

I choked down my cry of surprise. How could it be…?

“Yes. I was born under a wharf. I spent the first six months of my life as a black kitten, a stray living off the scraps from the fishing boats and clam shacks. Then she caught me and made me her prisoner.”


“I don’t even want to utter her name. There’s danger in the very word. She is a witch, centuries old, a practitioner of the darkest arts – the epitome of evil. Out walking one evening along the rocky shore, she caught sight of me and wanted me as her familiar. It was easy for her to lure me into her clutches.

“At first she just used me to facilitate her spells. The rumored powers of black cats are more than just legend. Before long, though, she began to experiment.”

His ominous tone sent a chill through my naked body. I pulled the towel around me.

“You see, her advanced age hadn’t diminished her lust. Quite the opposite. She wanted a sexual plaything, someone she could use to satisfy her perverted desires. A male body she could own and control. So she delved into her books of magic, seeking a spell that would turn her poor innocent feline familiar into a man – at least when she wanted him that way.

“Her first attempts failed.” Tom shuddered at the recollection. “She barely managed to save my life. I guess she’d grown fond of me at that point – in her own twisted way.”

“Oh, Tom…”

“Finally, she found a ritual that would change an animal into a human during the hours when the sun was banished from the earth. I’ll never forget the terror of that first transformation, when I found myself wobbling on two legs in front of her naked body. It was even worse than what came after.”

“What was that?” 

“Oh, Shaina – I was human, but scarcely a man. I was barely thirteen.”

Buy Links: 

Amazon US 

Amazon UK

About the Author

When I was a little girl, my dad would make up stories for my siblings and me, fabulous sagas about ghosts and monsters, magical races with mysterious powers, heroes on impossible quests, hidden treasures awaiting only the most courageous seeker. I blame him for my lifelong fascination with the magical and miraculous.

Now that I’m grown up, I create my own tales of wonder, weaving in generous portions of human desire with its potent enchantments. In my paranormal tales, love works the most powerful magick.

Find out more about me and my books at my website, Lisabet’s Fantasy Factory ( and my blog Beyond Romance ( I also hang out on Goodreads ( and Amazon (  I also have a VIP readers email list where I share release and contest information and run exclusive monthly giveaways. To join, just email me: lisabet [at] lisabetsarai [dot] com.


Spotlight on Cheri Kay


, , , ,

A Spotlight on Cheri Kay Clifton.Bio photo #1

It is my pleasure to spotlight the recent release of Destiny’s Journey, Book 2 of the Wheels of Destiny Trilogy!

Family deception kept Jennifer O’Malley from marrying her first love ten years ago, West Point officer, Glen Herrington. Now a Civil War widow, she leaves war-torn Richmond, determined to find her destiny. She makes the long journey west in search of Glen, only to discover he is a notorious outlaw with a price on his head.


At the end of the war, Glen Herrington musters out of the U.S. Cavalry and hires on to Wells, Fargo & Company as an undercover agent. When Jennifer confronts him locked in a jail cell, the embers of a love too long denied burn deep inside them both, yet Glen is honor bound not to reveal his true identity.

As life-long secrets and life-threatening dangers abound, Glen and Jennifer fight to reclaim their destiny in each other’s arms.

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and other ebook distributors. Soon to be in paperback.’s-Journey-Wheels-Destiny-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00J7426H0


Trail To Destiny, Book 1, is the exciting story that begins the Wheels of Destiny Trilogy.Cheri 2

Laura Westbrook expected to face her share of challenges crossing the continent on a wagon train. But when she saves the life of the courageous white warrior, Grey Wolf, she finds the pathways between pride and prejudice, love and loyalty far more difficult to travel.

Having buried deep within him the horrific memory of his family’s massacre at the hands of a rogue band of Pawnee, young David thrives under the care and tutelage of his rescuer, Cheyenne Chief Black Arrow. Trained to become the proud warrior named Grey Wolf, he finds his life changed again by the beautiful and strong-willed Laura, who encourages him to reclaim his forsaken heritage and face the secrets of his haunted past.

From the rugged Nebraska plains to a Cheyenne village, from an army fort to a small town in California, destiny leads Laura and Grey Wolf on a trail of passion and danger that culminates in an astounding revelation.

Available at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and other ebook distributors. Soon to be in paperback.

Hope you’ll visit my web site and become more familiar with me and my books.







Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 347 other followers