This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Maggie will be awarding an eCopy of Outback Promise to 3 randomly drawn winners via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.
Outside my window is a constant parade of people walking, biking, and skateboarding. An occasional deer or two ambles by, unbothered by human presence. A large orange cat from across the street keeps elephants away. I know he’s good at this job because I haven’t seen a single since we moved in.
All this goes on under the spreading branches of Garry oak trees, a species indigenous to a small part of the Pacific Northwest. My window overlooks one of these giants, estimated to be over 200 years old. Our driveway was built around it, thirty years ago. The tree’s vast limbs frame the moon on cloudless nights. This one Garry oak tree is the stalwart of my writing life.
Late last winter hummingbirds built a nest, smaller that a baby’s fist, in the cradle of its branches. In spring the oak’s buds appeared at the same time the cherry trees were blooming, both heralding the growing season.
In summer dark green leaves unfurled and filled the tree’s canopy. Under the shelter and camouflage of the thick foliage, at least one Cooper’s hawk took its evening meal there for safe eating.
Now it is fall and the moss on the tree is plump from seasonal rains. Moss is the breeding ground for small insects and wherever there are bugs, there are birds. In the past week the tree has been visited by downy woodpeckers, Northern flickers, robins, juncos and nuthatches.
The kaleidoscope of scenery on my street is never the same twice. The people and animals change by the minute. The grand Garry oaks should outlive them all, changing at a glacial pace. My desk sits in front of the window, a good place to stare and dream when the characters on my pages talk amongst themselves.
A few months ago, Ros discovered Grady's affair.
With their marriage fast disintegrating, they decide to take a three-month camping trip into the heart of Australia to try and mend deep wounds and rekindle the fire that once fused them close. This trip will decide the fate of their relationship: do they have enough strength and enough love left to accept what life has put them both through?
But trust and forgiveness don't come easily, and Ros and Grady have to navigate not only the wilderness of the Outback and the challenges of other travellers, but also the chasm of grief and bitterness they have sunk into over the last six years. Their only hope for survival lies in facing the secrets they have both tried to keep buried ...
Enjoy an excerpt:
The day my son died, he ate a Vegemite and banana sandwich for lunch.
His small voice, almost forgotten now, jarred me awake that morning. ‘How do bees get to school?’
Forty pounds of energy scrambled onto the bed.
‘Who’s asking me these questions so very early?’ I surfaced from a dream fog.
‘Mummy! It’s sunny!’ Cadel wedged himself between his father and me. His breath smelled like apple juice.
‘Okay, so how do bees get to school?’
‘On the school buzz.’
His infectious giggle filled the room. I peered out at the bright blue sky and abandoned all hope of sleeping in. We said we’d take him hiking with his new backpack if the weather was good.
Grady rolled over and grunted. His wavy dark hair hung in his eyes as he tried to look stern. ‘Lady Rosalyn, do you know this little person?’
‘No, Sir Grady, I do not.’
‘Should we make him walk the plank?’
‘It’s me, Daddy.’
‘What? When?’ Grady shook his head. ‘Me? Me who?’
‘It’s me! Cadel!’
‘I don’t remember giving permission for you to come aboard. Are you sure you’re not a pirate? I’d better give you the pirate test.’ He lifted Cadel’s pyjama top and blew a raspberry on his soft stomach.
Cadel shrieked and flailed his small arms.
I slid out of bed and left the two of them, wrestling and twisting the sheets into knots.
About the Author:
While living Down Under and exploring the outback, Maggie started writing fiction. Her adult short stories have been published in various anthologies in Australia, the US, and Canada. She has written for Quills Canadian Poetry magazine, her YA novel LOCKDOWN was published in 2014, and in 2015 she published OUTBACK PROMISE.
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