The Casualty

The evening’s breath bites at my ears and through my coat as I dash along shadowy streets, wishing I’d asked for the car. When I arrive he’s on our bed trembling, shoes still on, body tight as a curl grub. Jeremy’s voice on the phone had been desperate and small – like these hours past midnight.

I lean against the door, gasping. Jeremy unfurls, eyes red-rimmed. Crimson blood streaks across his shirt.

‘What happened, are you all right?’

‘I didn’t know who else to call.’  A cry slips from his throat and his shoulders shake as more escape.

I take his hand — mine cold, its hold loose. He crushes my fingers.

‘Walked from chambers …for a ch..ange….’ He’s almost incoherent and leans against my breasts, his tie across my lap.

‘What happened?’

In staccato he continues. ‘A car…slammed…into a telegraph pole…thought it was a bomb.’

I jerk my head back at the image, his square jaw and wet face too close.

‘The driver…’ His voice broke. ‘There was blood everywhere so I bolted into a house, grabbed some sheets off a bed—‘

‘A house?’ I ask.

‘The front door was open.’ He wipes his nose with a sleeve, unconscious of the act, and groans. ‘I don’t think she made it.’

I pull at a loose thread in the blanket. ‘The ambulance came?’

He nods, pushing hair from his eyes, and I see the childhood scar at his temple. I hold him, then.

‘Perhaps she did, thanks to you,’ I manage, hoping she’s alive. Thanks to you I have metal screws in my hand.

Jeremy’s tremors lessen and he becomes a dead weight. When I’m sure he’s asleep I begin to disentangle myself.

‘I’m so sorry about everything,’ he whispers in the dark, his arms tightening around me. He reeks of spew and metal – of skin and tears brushed with desperation and shock.

I lie in empty space, my thoughts stripped bare, and force myself not to mould my body to his.


Susan Lattwein

Posted in Australian fiction, flash fiction | Tagged , | 8 Comments

777 Writing Challenge

I’m absorbed in the middle of my Scrivener software tutorial, wondering why it’s taken me so long to discover this wonderful writing tool!

Suddenly my phone is blipping and I’ve been nominated for the 777 Writing Challenge.

The rules of the 777 Writing Challenge are as follows:

‘The 777 challenge requires you go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to Line 7 and share the next 7 sentences in a blog post. Once you have done this, you can tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their work-in-progress.’

I was tagged by Matt Potter, who’s obviously done a bit of painting in his time…with a twist.

I nominate Marigold Dicer, Annabelle Franklin, Paula Antonello Moore, Timi YeseiboBen Brown, Michelle Weaver, and Michelle Goodhew. (Michelle, I know you’re primarily an illustrator but I’m always inspired by your writing.)

My WIP is Arafura – Unfinished Business (aptly named) as I’m re-editing the novel before starting the third in the series.

‘Light reflecting off shattered glass on the ground caught Kat’s attention as she approached her car.

Why didn’t I notice treading on it earlier?

Looking up to see the broken car park light above, she didn’t react fast enough, even scream, before a figure rushed her from behind.

The last thing Kat felt was a sharp and painful jab to her thigh.

Chapter Two

It wasn’t until the next morning that Kat’s absence was noticed.

The afternoon before, she and Lily had attended their Sunday afternoon dance class. As usual, Kat felt safe in the darkened back row, farthest from the instructors.’

Posted in 777 Writing Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 10 Comments

International Lit Bulb Festival – flash fiction prompt ‘together’

lit bulb

features new flash fiction, flash non-fiction, and poetry from across the globe. Submissions had to be 1500 words or less and include the theme or prompt ‘together’. Thanks to Matt Potter for accepting my romantic flash fiction below:

Window to the Soul

Juliet glanced up—blonde-haired legs dangled from a rope outside her window on the tenth floor. Limbs with tight thigh muscles, flexing to keep balance. She’d never admired male knees before. Oh my. It was window cleaning day.

Juliet had been concentrating on her report, but a question froze her fingers at the keyboard. With legs like that, what’s the rest of him like?

‘Rosie!’ she hissed to her friend at the opposite workstation. ‘Look out the window!’

But Rosie had already noticed. ‘Oh, look! What’s blocking the light from yonder window?’

Once again Juliet cursed her parents for her name. She was distracted by muffled voices and the soft thunk of a boot against glass, close by.

Two men hung suspended from ropes outside said window, arcing sudsy washers in smooth strokes like a red-blooded aerial ballet. Relaxed, they swung six foot apart in the breeze with absolute trust in their safety equipment.

Suddenly Juliet locked eyes with The Legs, the younger of the two. His eyebrows shot up, his washer stopping in mid-arc. Although they were strangers, her stomach somersaulted.

‘That dude looks like he’s on drugs,’ remarked Rosie, glancing up from her screen. ‘And he’s not long for this world if he doesn’t get his shit together and concentrate.’

Juliet gave a soft laugh, her eyes riveted to the other side of the glass. The young man gave a slow smile, an irresistible combination of playful and perceptive. The intensity of his expression held her captive—she wasn’t aware of taking in his lean-against-me chest. Nor was she consciously considering the enticing possibilities of his square shoulders and taut lines of his forearms.

Juliet blushed, the first to look away.

‘Is he coming on to you? Shall I give him the evil eye?’

‘Ah, no, Rosie.’

The phone on her desk shrilled. Outside, the young man swung over and cleaned Rosie’s window, now out of Juliet’s sight. He pointed to Juliet, but Rosie gave him the finger.

Juliet’s call took forever. After hanging up, she fought the itch to stand up and investigate where he’d gone.

A few minutes later dark boots manoeuvred their way back along the sill.

The young man’s grin was infectious, yet his eyes pleaded. Phone number?

Name? she mouthed back, shrugging her shoulders.

He craned his neck, narrowing his eyes to read the nameplate at her desk.

Even as his lips formed the word she knew it wasn’t true.



‘Juliet.’ She turned, startled to see her boss.

‘Whoa,’ said her manager, looking out the window. ‘Free porn at work today. How’s the Paris report going?’

‘Done,’ Juliet mumbled, pushing back her chair. ‘Just printing it off for you.’

When she returned from the utility room, the windows were sparkling—and empty.

That afternoon Juliet noticed a message scrawled in thick chalk on the ground, right outside the entrance to her building. She paused to read it again.


One heart, shot by Cupid’s arrow.

Please call Romeo.

There was a phone number underneath.

Juliet rang Rosie that night. ‘Of course it’s him,’ said her friend. ‘You almost made the guy fall off his perch. But I bet you don’t ring, unlike the office nymphos. You’re always too careful.’

‘No one will ring.’ Juliet frowned.

‘Oh yes they will,’ said Rosie. ‘Our building has ten floors. Everyone’s coming out of their own special closets since we embraced workplace diversity.’

Next morning the message had disappeared. There was a buzz of intrigue in the office, but by lunchtime it was history.

Juliet told herself The Legs incident was just one of life’s forks in the road, and fate was probably doing her a favour. What sort of desperado scribbles messages like that in a public place? He was probably a creep.

But he was far from a creep in her dream that night.

The morning after he was sitting on a bench in the tiny sculptured garden outside Juliet’s building, in jeans and a windcheater. It was freezing.

She recognised him immediately, even without a safety helmet. His expression brightened as he spotted her.

Well, this is awkward. She wandered over, determined to keep her expression neutral. The stale jokes had been with her, all her life. She was over it. Despite being wholeheartedly tired of all this Romeo and Juliet crap, his wide grin broke her resolve.

‘What’s your real name?’ she demanded as he rose to greet her.

‘Matthew.’ His voice was like honey straight from a bee-hive.

He probably floats like a butterfly and stings…Stop it!.

‘That message, was that you?’ She frowned, waving a hand towards the entrance to her building.

He raised his hands in defence. ‘You work on a secure floor, it’s like Alcatraz! Anyway, I had to remove it. Too many strange calls.’ He looked sheepish. ‘Would you like to sit down?’

Juliet balanced on the edge of the bench, letting her feelings escape in a sigh.

Matthew’s eyes searched her face, and now he sighed too. ‘You and I—it reminded me of the fish-tank scene, looking at each other through the glass,’ he explained with a half-smile. ‘I couldn’t get you out of my mind.’

Juliet crossed her arms. “Perhaps I’m not a real Juliet,’ she said, finally.

‘Perhaps I’m not a real window-washer.’ Matthew raised an eyebrow.

She gave him a long look, noticing his sensitive hands were trembling slightly. Surprising both of them, Juliet leant toward him, first brushing her lips against his, then kissing him properly. Matthew’s slow, considered response drew her hands to his chest, unconscious of her actions, curious.

A work colleague passed by and called out, ‘Get a room!’

‘Or a balcony!’ said another. But she was deaf to the taunts.

Matthew and Juliet sat on the bench, together in the winter sunshine.

‘You don’t kiss by the book, Romeo,’ she said, unable to resist.

Mathew took her hands. ‘Well,’ he said, ‘that’s probably a good thing.’

The End

Susan Lattwein

Lit Bulb.1

Read the other writers here :

Pure Slush

SA Writers Centre

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Musings post-Sydney Writers Festival 2015

One of the themes discussed at this year’s thought-provoking Sydney Writers’ Festival was — why do we read fiction?


One theory put forward in the SWF event, A Pack of Lies – Narration in Fiction, is that we read to make sense of our lives and to develop empathy. It doesn’t really matter if the stories are true or not, they offer us access to the lives of others.

Guest speaker Dr Paul Dawson commented there’s more to reading fiction than the opportunity to walk in someone else’s shoes, or the intimacy of being in another person’s head. Paul called storytelling cognitive play and if done well, narratives can provide referential truths for readers.

Photo credit: Michael Leunig

Photo credit: Michael Leunig

There are many reasons why we’re drawn to stories, and I think one of them is checking other people out. Apparently we all read autobiographically, i.e. through the lens of our own experience. Some of us read to answer the question — is it just me? Humans are social creatures, and we tend to like reflections of ourselves in others.  Delving into other people’s minds and mental journeys can reassure us. We compare ourselves to others, assess, check, validate, justify, and if we’re open to it, can be challenged and altered by the stories we read. They can offer us a hint of the other way out.

According to Professor Robert Winston, the most complex task our brain must do is socialise; to learn to relate to other people, to learn the cues for who to trust, how to read people, how to win the friendship of strangers and love of those who matter most to us. Novels may not give us the added visual cues of body language, but narratives still give us fascinating insights into how to master the above.

Fiction is the watering hole we gather around to dip our toes in, and see how different yet similar we all are. Diversity is so much more than the colour of one’s skin, gender, sexuality or place of birth. Diversity is every other difference too — variations in DNA, in utero experiences, parenting, personality, upbringing, education, birth order, culture, religion, opinions, wealth, intelligence, opportunities, social skills, looks, social mores, moral compasses, preferences, even variations in the ghost symptoms of this or that mental illness many of us are pre-disposed to (aren’t most of us a little autistic?) and yes, empathy. Here are the rich pickings of fiction.

Perhaps writers put their stories out in the world to test how alone they are or aren’t in the world. And perhaps people read their stories for the same reasons.


The question was also raised — why do women read more fiction than men?

I think there are many approaches to this answer. Fiction often deals with emotions. Perhaps women read more fiction because they’re more open about emotions, and have been socialised to share their feelings more than men. I have seen many women (not all) choose to do so in workplaces, mothers groups, study groups and book clubs. Women give advice, discuss husbands, children, relatives, schools, careers, recipes, handy hints, health, films, TV shows, holidays, cars, real-estate, pets, retirement plans, superannuation etc. Okay, and men. Many women are happy to share from the minutiae of daily life through to the 5 year plan, (just look at Facebook) and this includes recommending books to each other.

Why? Perhaps it’s an evolutionary thing? Did women who collaborated, were curious about the way others maintained relationships, found food, kept warm, and reared their young improve the chances of their survival and that of their offspring? Perhaps this desire to bounce off each other is hard-wired into us more than we realise? Hard core feminists can shoot me down, but it’s interesting to ponder why women read more fiction than men.

Having said that, many men have come to enjoy the literary or popular fiction novels their female counterparts have suggested/left lying around/forced upon them. I’ve been surprised and delighted that men enjoyed my first novel in the Arafura series. Feedback like the comment below on Amazon altered the way I approached the next Arafura novel – Unfinished Business (I’m still confused by the broad term, ‘chick lit’, which seems to be attached to any female author who has a female protagonist who falls in love. What if the dude falls in love too, and men enjoy reading about that?)

‘When I first heard about this book, I was warned that I may not like it because it’s ‘Chick lit’. Well, if only women can enjoy this tale, then I need to get my oestrogen levels checked, because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I’ll admit I wouldn’t normally pick a book like this, but I’m glad I strolled outside of my comfort zone.
I enjoyed the humour, the location, and the characters … hell what isn’t there to like about this book? If this is an example of how good ‘Chick lit’ can be, then I’ve been missing out on great stories for years. Two thumbs up.’ (Ben Brown-Perth)

Perhaps why women read more fiction than men is only cultural, a socially constructed gender issue? Let the publishing marketers loose with that.

Why can’t men read fiction with elements of romance? I look forward to Graeme Simsion and Anne Buist’s new novel, Left Right, which sounds like a romantic comedy told from the separate perspectives of the leading male and female characters. I’m sure many men will be reading Left Right after thoroughly enjoying Simsion’s, The Rosie Project, which is classified as a romance novel on the internet. Bill Gates loved The Rosie Project and recommended it on his blog (one giant leap for Graeme, but his novel IS a great read).


Why do we in the West feel the urge to allocate types of fiction and its readers into such tight pigeonholes anyway?

Another question—why are we drawn to violence and crime in fiction, was also raised at the SWF event, On Deception, with Michael Connelly, Liane Moriarty and Sascha Arango.

Sascha Arango suggested we’re drawn to crime and violent stories because they allow us a window into a world we’re no longer allowed to participate in. In The Human Mind, Professor Robert Winston supports this, saying as humans we share a universal battle to master our emotions and control our behaviour. In civilised society we must do this for the good of all, but it’s entertaining to vicariously tiptoe over to the dark side.

I did so by taking a tour of The Rocks a few nights ago in Sydney, and I agree with Sascha. The violent history of The Rocks is a world away from us now in 2015. No more public hangings, Bubonic Plague, men sold into naval slavery, murderous gangs in the streets, and often hand-to-mouth existences. But it was SO compelling hearing the stories.

I think we love to read or watch how far other people might go in certain situations, and why. We’re fascinated by what might happen when the boundaries are tested and the gripping consequences that might play out. Historical fiction (and autobiographical non-fiction) can be especially tantalising for some as they’re based on true stories, thereby offering cautionary tales made more shocking and potent by facts and actual human behaviour.

The theme for this year’s Sydney Writers’ Festival was, it’s thinking season, and this was certainly true for me. I now also have a reading list a mile long!

Sydney Writers’ Festival

The Human Mind by Professor Robert Winston

Posted in A Pack of Lies - Narration in Fiction, Anne Buist, Arafura - Blood The Wet and Tears, Arafura - Unfinished Business, Dr Paul Dawson, Graeme Simsion, Liane Moriarty, Paul Dawson, Robert Winston, Sascha Arango, Sydney Writers' Festival, The Rocks, The Rosie Project, why more women read fiction, why we enjoy violence and crime in fiction, why we read fiction | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Don’t Kill Me, I’m in Love

Don't kill me

Image credit: Pure Slush


Many thanks to Matt Potter, editor of Pure Slush, for his guidance and advice whilst I wrote my story (the sixth in the serial) for don’t kill me I’m in love

In the serial each story picks up from where the previous story left off, using one or more of the characters, but taking the story somewhere else. Before I knew it it I was a gay social worker in a womens’ prison, burnt out and about to hand in my resignation, except…

The stories before mine are written with imagination and great word-smithery, which daunted me! Stories are 1500 words or less. 30 writers have signed up for the project, and you can find who they are and the order of their stories and their publication dates by clicking here.

Pure Slush publishes flash fiction and non-fiction on-line every month … and also in print. Here is part of Matt Potter’s reasoning behind Pure Slush and you’ll see why I enjoyed writing my story in the serial.

Image credit:

Check out Pure Slush if you enjoy writing flash fiction and non-fiction.



Posted in Don't kill me I'm in love, flash fiction, Pure Slush, serial fiction, short story fiction, writing | Tagged , , , , | 8 Comments

FLASH FICTION Challenge #2 – try it, you might get addicted…

No, no, the title isn’t the prompt! 🙂

Stories for the first Flash Fiction Challenge  Love Gone Wrong ranged from putting the love-blame squarely on Jane Austen’s shoulders, to Lola’s suspicious mind and where it got her (besides an expensive plumbing bill, and that’s looking on the bright side), to a steam-punk romance where giving your heart takes on a new meaning,  to love in the trenches of domesticity – despite wearing sexy pants, to Curt’s doozy of a limerick.

‘Ma shut the cellar door that led to the bakery. They were always noisy at first,’  can be continued here, as can another tale about love not taking a straight path, even afterwards

Flash Fiction Challenge #2 is –

‘A lone street-light, a person and strange noises coming from the boot (trunk) of a car.’

Please feel welcome to have a go if you’re remotely tempted. Simple guidelines can be found here

I’m going to kick off Challenge #2


Photo credit:

The knocking from the boot hit me hard in the chest.

Thump, thump.


Losing concentration, I hit a dead kangaroo on the road. My car bounced, the headlight beams going berserk in the stark, low-lying scrub.


I took a corner faster than usual at a railway crossing, rattling over the long abandoned tracks. No sound from the back.

Back on straight, level bitumen, then—clunk.

Fear pricked at my temples—this sound was unpredictable, made with intent. It wasn’t just my hockey stick rattling around back there. I should have tossed the potential weapon in the back seat after training.

The next thud vibrated through to the steering wheel. My hands gripped it tighter, remembering I had no phone reception out here.

The nearest police station was fifteen kilometres behind me. I was on my way to a party at Emma’s property, out of town. My best friend was playing matchmaker, and she’d invited an acquaintance who brewed beer using wild yeast collected from his beard. I warned Emma I wasn’t into microbiology, but she insisted I branch out from my usual type. She was probably right, magnetic but needy guys like Richard, my ex, were no longer on my radar.

Another heart-pounding bang and I spotted a lone street-light at a crossroad in the distance. A minute later my tyres crunched to a stop on the roadside gravel. The warm blanket of the night lay thick and still, and the sweet, childhood smell of dry grass through the open window should have been reassuring. I decided to keep my headlights on and the engine running. As I opened my door, a shooting star joined the dots in a diamond crusted sky.

Snatching a medium-sized rock from the ground, I approached the rear of the car, my hands trembling.

Not a thud now, but a shifting, scraping sound. There was definitely something in there—alive. I crept closer, fear knotting my stomach, panic clawing at my bowels.

Just then plastic cracked, shards of it splintering from a rear brake light after a vicious kick from inside. Leaping back, I knew I would not unlock that boot—not alone, not out here in the middle of nowhere. I was safer driving with this god-awful, terrible thing in my boot, and dealing with it at Emma’s.

Another hard blow sent blood pounding straight from my chest to my head. Turning to make a run for the driver’s door, I froze, detecting movement from my peripheral vision. To my horror the toe of a canvas shoe emerged from the damaged brake light, the lit bulb dangling below like a dislodged eye.

Red-hot-poker anger replaced my visceral fear. I knew that shoe.

I yanked the boot open so damn hard it almost slammed shut again.

Inside—trussed up by the wrists and ankles with nothing on but his shoes and Batman jocks was my ex-husband, grinning despite the gag—as if he’d just jumped out of a cake.

What will it take for him to move on?

(Susan Lattwein)



Posted in Australian fiction, Australian flash fiction, flash fiction, Flash Fiction Challenge #2, short story fiction, writing | Tagged , , , , | 19 Comments

New flash fiction prompt…

Here’s a new flash fiction prompt to experiment with — for fun — to allow contributors to try different writing styles and genres. In 500 words or less it’s a quick, simple and collaborative way to practice writing.


A lone street light, a person (you?), and strange noises coming from the boot (trunk) of a car.

Reminders about flash fiction:


What is FLASH FICTION? In short—a very short story. Let’s not get too complicated here. It can be serious, funny, mysterious, scary, sad, romantic, adventure, sci-fi, historical etc, etc, your call. (Please no erotica.)

  • Due to its brevity, you may wish to start your FF story in the middle (eg, the woman ran into her lover’s arms, still in his prison uniform …)  FF often ends in a twist, or a punch line. Hit them where it hurts.
  • Flash fiction is a complete story (has a beginning, middle and end). It’s often rich in interpretation, its language compressed.
  • Ask yourself, is every word necessary to your story? Distilling experience into a few paragraphs forces writers to pay close attention to what they’re doing. It’s great editing practice to remove everything that isn’t essential to the setting, the action, the feelings of the characters, or moving the story forwards.
  • The fewer characters the better.
  • Inferred meanings give the reader a puzzle to solve, rather than stating the obvious. A little mystery goes a long way—make the mystery worthwhile, lure the reader to the end.
  • FF can be prose, poetry, a song.
  • Commenting and giving feedback on stories is definitely encouraged (like a friendly writing group would). As always, be helpful, be nice. And a bit of hilarity is good for the soul, too.

It’s easy, just submit your work in the comments section of my next post , NOT THIS ONE or it will be hard for readers to find. (I’ll publish Saturday morning, 28 February, Sydney, Australia time.)

500 words or less, with your name and the link to your blog if you have one. (That way readers can go and check out what else you get up to if they wish.)

Don’t be afraid to experiment! Put on those writing wings! You’ll never, never know where that story might go.


Photo credit:

(All rights to works published here will be retained by the original authors.)

P.S. I’m sure your entries will be less scary than my attempt to teach FF to an over-imaginative Year 5. They got uber-keen and put together a book for me with titles like The Cannibals, The Three Little Pigs Attack, The Parasite Is Coming, Death In a Car Boot (timely, at least), The Curse of the Crazy Killing Blood-Dripping Vertebrate, The Night In Hell and others I’m still too scared to share. (They got you’re right so I am happy)


Posted in Australian flash fiction, editing, flash fiction, Wordpress, writing | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Interview with a vampire!!!

Yes, an interview with a vampire!! IN REAL LIFE!! – as my kids would say.

I was lucky enough to ask Christopher, the vampire from Marigold Deidre Dicer’s The Black Swan Inheritance a few questions.

First, here is a description of the novel.

‘Anita had the kind of reputation in high school no one wants to carry into adulthood, especially since she wants to be a doctor like her dad. Now at university, she is determined to be good, but one little end-of-semester celebration can’t hurt, right? Well, it can if she ends up having a one-night stand with a werewolf that triggers a dark awakening.
The Black Swan is a powerful legacy that brings both temptation and danger. Having now inherited the title and all that comes with it, Anita finds herself beset upon by ancient abominations that won’t take no for an answer.  But Anita is determined not to run away – she is here to help, whether the medieval dragon-wolf or the undead cultists want it or not.
She will be no one’s pawn. She will rise to the challenge.
If she can just manage to deal with her own flaws first. Anxiety, panic-attacks, and bouts of bitchiness does not a successful diplomat make.’

Okay here we go –

Thanks for the opportunity to ask you a few questions, Christopher. I’ve never interviewed a vampire before …

Not at all. It is so rare I speak to a human about my nature. I appreciate your open mind.

Please tell me how a human can turn into a vampire?

And here I expected you would begin with the easier questions…

I must admit, I was not aware of my own transformation to vampirism. As a general rule of thumb, people who kill themselves do not expect to have to claw themselves up and out of their grave three days later. If anything, I expected fire and brimstone for taking the coward’s route, and instead I was given a second chance.

Admittedly, it took another lifetime to recognise it as such…

The ritual requires blood magic, darkness, and earth. I am not certain of the particulars beyond that, although I have since discovered committing suicide is not a requirement. It was a natural assumption, since all of my fellow vampires were killed by their own hand. Either the old master targeted vulnerable people to raise from the dead, or the ritual was more applicable to us for another reason.

What is it like, flying? I’ve only done it in dreams.

I take the form of a bat to fly, which immediately feels restrictive until you get used to the short feet and oversized hands. The act of taking off and landing are the challenging parts, although I believe that has more to do with trying to consciously think about the mechanics as opposed to letting my new instincts take over. I would compare it to riding a bike – it is not difficult, as long as you make sure you don’t think too hard about it. And as with a bike, once you get used to it the motions become effortless and exhilarating.

It is fun.

It would be. What are you afraid of?

I would like to say I no longer fear death, but that would be a lie. Death is still the great unknown, and, as I mentioned before, the first time I died was not a final death.

I am not looking forward to discovering true and final death.

I fear for Anita, and the safety of the nest. She is strong, but there are stronger monsters in this world, and if she were to be challenged the consequences could be disastrous. For practical reasons, I do not want another to claim her. I have felt the abuse of a mad master – she does not deserve the same.

You don’t have to answer this, but why did you consider yourself a broken soul?

Oh, so, so many reasons. Committing suicide is a mortal sin. Ever since I was resurrected I felt like a shell of a man, my only purpose to follow the master’s commands and wait for the end of days. In retrospect, I was given no choices. I spent my nights praying for a forgiveness I knew I would never receive. It was easier to belief myself a weapon, a tool waiting to be picked up and used. Until then, I had to fight the temptation of hope.

Anita has gotten you out of a major pickle. How do you feel about that?

Our first meeting did not go to plan, I will admit that. I almost wonder what would have happened once the sun rose. Having been told our mortally wounded bodies would turn to ash, where would that leave me? A ghost?

While she did do me a great favour, she was acting in her own interest as well. I was honestly surprised she was not interested in using me, even though I was her pawn. I am grateful to her. She might not always act as a leader should, but her intentions are noble.  Well, for the most part.

Ahem, just like yours? Moving on, what are your big dreams, despite being dead?

I never thought of unlife as a second life. Anita changed that, for me and for my fellow vampires. She has provided us the freedom to seek our own purpose, within reason, of course. We still die with the night, only to rise again when darkness falls. Thankfully, in this modern society that is not such a hindrance.

While this freedom is certainly appreciated, the power we have gained also ensures that hunting is much quicker and safer, for all involved. I have yet to determine where, specifically, I should direct all the free time I now have. I still worship God but now my reading material has broadened to include history, current affairs, even novels. The internet is a wealth of knowledge for the common man.

I have found myself contemplating where my family is now. I wonder, did my brother survive the war? Is my mother still alive?

Am I an uncle?

I will not search the answers to these questions until I am confident I can handle them.

There’s obviously chemistry between you and Anita, and I was hoping you two would be exchanging more than blood. Do you have any teasers you can share for the second book in the Black Swan Inheritance?

Things between me and Anita are strained. Her nature and my desires are not easily compatible. The Black Swan is the witch of seduction; it is where she gains her magic. She cannot be faithful to me, and so we are at an impasse.

I respect her greatly, and am undoubtedly attracted to her, but it is impossible for us to have a healthy romantic relationship. I will be her loyal confident, and will support her, but I cannot have hope that we can ever be together.

Not unless something changes.

Well, I look forward to the second book in the series, and discovering what’s in store for you, Anita and the other characters. I hope I haven’t kept you up, or out, or anything …. Christopher? Oops, he must have flown off.

That interview gave me the shivers!! Visit Marigold’s blog, Versus Blurb for more details.



Posted in Australian urban paranormal fantasy, Marigold Deidre Dicer, The Black Swan Inheritance, urban paranormal fantasy, vampire, Versus Blurb, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 6 Comments

Character Interview with @SusanLattwein ‘s Lily from the Arafura Series

Marigold asked Lily (Kat’s sister from ARAFURA) some up-front questions. If you ask me I think they’re a little similar… (not a bad thing at all!) 🙂

Versus Blurb

24713706My first ever character interview is with Lily, the boisterous and excitable sister of protagonist Kat Howard from Arafura.

Thanks for joining me Lily. Now, I’ve gotten to know your sister quite well these past few months, and she is obviously passionately in love with Adam. What’s your attitude to wuv, twue wuv? Are you going to search for it, or wait for it to fall in your lap?

True love? No such thing, babe! My sister, Kat, thinks there is, even love at first sight (I guess Adam is a catch but he’s not as hot as Ben). Knights in shining armour on their trusty steeds don’t exist, just ordinary (some less than ordinary) dudes trying to navigate their boats like the rest of us. Let’s face it, we all have issues. I do love Ben, (you have me worried now that I’m not demonstrative enough in public…). I guess he’s the…

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LOVE GONE WRONG – Valentine’s Day flash fiction

‘Falling’ in love 

Kat paddled to stay afloat, her skin chartreuse-yellow in the deep, crystal water. Close up, Adam’s wet eyelashes seemed longer.

Male mascara.

“Jump with me,” he challenged. “Just from the cliff.”

Kat shook her head. No way.

“I dare you.”

I hardly know you, AND I’m engaged.

Taking in his wide grin, Kat’s treacherous heart was already jumping. Biting her cheek, she appraised the cliff from the safety of the plunge pool. It didn’t seem that high, not as crazy as the waterfall he’d just leapt off.

“Will it shut you up?”

“Perhaps.” His voice rode roughshod over her common sense.

Florence Falls - the jump

Florence Falls, NT – the jump

A few minutes later they’d climbed to the ledge of the tapering, ancient rock formation. In truth, Adam climbed and Kat had scrambled. The initial ascent had been easy, but soon Kat’s leg muscles were straining for scarce footholds in the rock face. The near-vertical climb just below the summit took her by surprise, as did the realisation that a girl’s modesty could be compromised. Kat wished she’d wrapped her sarong around the parts of her she prayed Adam wasn’t getting a bird’s eye view of. She stopped, one foot wedged in a rocky crevice.

“You go in front,” she panted—trying not to.

“Are you okay?” Adam voice sounded uncomfortably close, below her. He hauled himself up like a gymnast, and his chest and shoulders took her eyes hostage.

Kat wiped slick perspiration off her forehead with the back of a gritty hand. Beads of sweat ran down last summer’s bikini top, the perishing elastic ties holding everything in place, for now.

Man, it’s too hot for this.

Soon Adam was above her, leaning down to offer a helping hand.

“I’m fine, thanks.”

On the ledge, Kat stood from a crouch like a new-born foal. Looking down, she rehearsed the jump.

Why did it look less daunting from below? How did I end up being this guy’s babysitter?

Adam moved closer, and she flinched. “Don’t touch me!”

He took in the powerful, cascading water, and once again she was appalled at the horrific scars on his back. “This place is … ,” his gaze returned to her, “gorgeous.”

“Yep, drop-dead gorgeous.”

Adam laughed. His board shorts hung low, and Kat tore her eyes away from an arresting hip bone.

“Funny you should say that. Last year five people died jumping off waterfalls in Australia.”

Kat’s knees buckled.

“Sorry. Just kidding … you don’t watch Bear Grylls, I guess.”

I’m stuck up here with a joker.

“It’s okay,” he said, solemn now, and this time she accepted his outstretched hand.

They approached the edge, and Kat’s eyes widened at the drop below.

“I’m scared.”

Their eyes locked, and Kat’s stomach fluttered with fear and a thrill she wasn’t prepared to analyse right now.

“On three … one, two, three!”  Adam’s last word echoed across the cliffs.


Kat surfaced first, gasping, her fear far behind her. She felt light, free, almost … naked.

Hang on … where’s my bikini top?

(A tweaked excerpt from Arafura – Blood, the Wet and Tears)

Now it’s your turn. It goes without saying that everyone owns their own work. 🙂





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