Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Farewell to Laurel

Laurel passed away in Northam Western Australia on 9 June 2013 after a short illness.  Laurel loved to read and she had a passion for writing.  Over 43 years of writing Laurel was a prolific author self-publishing eight books that included children's stories, historical romance, regency novels, murder mysteries, and her West Australian epic The Walara Series.  In April 2013 she self-published the printed version of Journey from Walara.  Laurel was keen for The Walara Series to be completed and the third book will be published posthumously.  Her short stories and poetry have been included in several anthologies.

Laurel had a wide range of friends from her childhood, from her many years living in Hopetoun Western Australia, and from her writing.  The thoughts of Laurel's many friends to her family have been a great comfort and reflect how highly she was regarded.


Thursday, May 2, 2013

from As My Sister Lay Dying
The Romans liked purple
gave it Royal status
edged their fine woollen togas
with its brilliant colour
for which thousands of shellfish died. 

My sister stirs and opens her dark sunken eyes.
Sorry, she says
I must have dropped off.
She gazes at the crocheted rug
and holds the purple yarn between bloodless fingers.
You are getting on with it.
Journey from Walara available in print soon

Friday, April 26, 2013

As my Sister Lay Dying


I crochet the rug
she had begun for her youngest son. 

She rests against the headrest
propped on pillows
her eyes closed as an afternoon soap
plays its family dramas. 

I twine the purple wool
across my fingers
and hope my stitches are as neat and firm
as hers. 

The purple yarn is dark and luxurious
too opulent
for a young man to throw across
the back seat of his car.
Three children try to save a creek from the developers. Suitable for children 7-11





Monday, April 22, 2013


As My Sister Lay Dying 


We have secrets, my sister and I. 

At sixteen
she left without telling our mother
to live with our father in the Outback. 

It seared our mother to the bone
when she found the note
on the kitchen table. 

My sister, my father’s favourite,
found our parents marriage break up
particularly devastating. 

She hurt all her life
she had wounded our mother.
I haven't told anyone about it,
she said
Not even my children.
Substitute Bride - Regency novel

Saturday, April 20, 2013

the Wolf and the Riding Hoods


The twins, Catalina and Philippa, were on their way through the stretch of bush between their house and their grandparents' farm.
"Do you think we'll meet a wolf?" Catalina asked as she jumped from log to log.
"We might." Philippa put down the basket their mother had packed beside one of the fallen logs: the log had settled across two larger ones and formed a nice little bridge.
The girls walked along its narrow surface, their arms outstretched, hands spread, balancing.          

Arthur drove along the slushy track, wet from the morning's rain, looking for Leggatt's farm. He wondered if their bit of insurance was worth going out of his way. Rounding a bend in the road, he saw ahead of him, two little figures clad in red raincoats and hats, walking along a fallen log. He stopped when he reached them.
"Hi, there, chicks," he called, grinning as he wound down the window. Though he was nearing sixty, Arthur liked to keep up with what he thought was the latest jargon of the younger set. 
The girls stared at him then said in unison, "Hello."
Arthur switched off the engine. "Where are you going?"
"We're going to see grandma," one of the little girls said.
"Where does your grandma live?"
“She lives in a house on the other side of the forest.” She pointed to the track behind her, which led into the forest. “We’re having a sleepover with her and Granddad tonight.”
Arthur’s eyes, set in a pudgy red face, glinted with expectation. “I’ll give you a lift. It’s a long way for two little girls to go by themselves.” He leant over and opened the door of the car.
The little girls jumped down from the log. One of them picked up a basket. They stood with the log between them and Arthur. 

Joe Hennessey builds a sheep station in the north of WEstern Australia for his heirs.
Wind from Danyari www.omnilit.com

Monday, April 15, 2013




Young Burne-Jones and William Morris
rented rooms in Red Lion Square
near their mentor, Rossetti. 

They wanted to furnish their rooms
in the spirit of the Pre-Raphaelite movement.
Not for them
Stick-back kitchen chairs
Beechwood Swing Rockers,
Bentwood, Windsor and the Sheraton style. 

Morris designed tall backed chairs
made from deal at Tommy Baker's cabinet shop
on Christopher Street. 

I imagine Burne-Jones bringing to life
the brave Sir Galahad
the knight who had no equal,
painting the back of a medieval chair
from images of Morris' poems.
And Rossetti coming to visit,
taking up a brush for amusement,
painting the unfaithful Gwendolen
of the golden hair. 

Morris kept the kettle boiling on the hob
poured cups of tea,
chatting with his companions,
not dreaming the chairs would reside one day
in America's Delaware Museum. 

What would they have thought of chairs
made of Malaysia's rainforests
and plastic chairs from China
pressed out in their millions.

Detective Matt Allenby finds he is falling in love with one of his suspects.




Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Plumbago Hedge

The Plumbago Hedge 

Our mother grew a plumbago hedge.
The mauve wispy flowers moved in the hot still air
And was always in need of trimming.
We want some privacy, our mother said
When the next door neighbour came home drunk.
We sat into the late evening
Watching the picture crowd go home.
I'd forgotten how hot it was in Northam.
We ran a milking cow down the back on our half acre.
My brothers took turns in milking
 and left bowls of milk on the back of the Metters.
Our mother scooped the thick clotted cream
Over stewed black plums
Picked from the overhanging branches of the neighbour's tree.
A high steel fence separates out neighbours this second time round.
The air conditioners hammer into the night.

 Crossroads at Isca - novel set in Roman Britain


Tuesday, April 9, 2013



They sit in plush leather chairs
In glass plated offices
These high priests of Industry
and make their offers. 

My hand is pale upon the sheet
As I measure the cost of a life. 

Husband, children, mother, father
Sister, brother.
We played in the sun
Picnicked in cool gorges,
sang away summer nights
thinking it would last forever. 

The Reaper too,
Sang his song
Hidden from us,
by time. 

One by one
Unasked, he came for them
scorning the three score years and ten,
tearing them away from life,
from family, from friends. 

The nurse is jolly
Pumping pillows, asking if
I'm ready to see my son.
He comes with new creases on his brow.
There is fear in his eyes
When he tells of the lesions on his lung. 

He grasps my hand
Seeking reassurance, begging comfort.
I feel his strength and terror
but I am attuned to them
who have gone
as I wait
for the Reaper's song.




Coming if Hippolyta

Coming of Hippolyta  - short story

Madge Kelly went onto the back verandah to empty the teapot on the hydrangea growing in an old tub by the wooden steps. In the darkness, she visualized the plant's lush blue flowers: to her, it was an old friend.
She had bought the plant as a cutting in a jam tin from a stall in town the year she married Ern and had propagated it many times, but the parent plant meant more to her than its offspring growing around her garden and in the neighbours' gardens.
She glanced to that part of the evening sky where the planet Venus usually appeared.
Below the planet, another bright star suddenly materialized. Madge thought it was the light of a jet, but it moved too fast. To Madge's startled gaze, it grew larger and brighter while she watched and seemed to land beyond the strip of bush in the north paddock.
Ern, her husband, called from the kitchen, "Hurry up, Madge. We're waiting for our tea."
Madge backed away from Venus and tripped over the doorstep into the kitchen. "I think I've just seen a spaceship land."
Her two sons, Kev and Ron, looked startled, and then laughed. "You read too many stories, Mum," said Kev, the eldest son.
Madge gazed timidly at him, amazed she’d produced this huge young man who towered head and shoulders over her and was already overweight at twenty-two.
Ron, the younger son, who was nearly as large as his brother, jumped to his feet. His chair went flying backwards. "I want to see this spaceship of yours, Mum," he said, pushing past her on his way to the door.
Madge winced as the door slammed after him.
"You're a fool, Madge," Ern said good naturedly from his place at the head of the table.
A few minutes later, Ron stamped back into the kitchen. "There's no spaceship out there, Mum."
Read rest of coming of Hippolyta on www.authorsden.com/laurellamperd

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Waiting Women





                        She saw the young woman
Seated next to a lamp
A painting by Harunobu
And knew it was her
Waiting for her lover. 

In her case
He was her boss.
He didn't say
He would divorce his wife
But she hoped he would. 

Sometimes she saw a news item
About him and his wife
At the ballet or opera
And once at a political dinner. 

She smoked non-stop
With a bottle of Chardonnay
At her elbow
Listening for his steps
waiting for him
looking like the young woman
waiting next to the lamp.

Detective Matt allenby investigates a murder and finds he is falling in love with one of his suspects



Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Retreat of the Drought

Retreat of the Drought  

Late evening the rain came.
It hovered on the horizon
Hidden in the darkness.
In slow time
it marched towards the homestead
crossed hills and valleys
coming down with a steady drumming
on the corrugated iron roof. 

The earth rebelled as pools formed
Until overcome
it let the invader into its womb
where the seeds of life are stored.
Rivulets of water
swelled into streams
gushed into dry dams
the water rose
covered the bones of drought stricken sheep. 

All night
The farmer lay awake.
Crossroads at Isca
Novel set in Roman Britain. Two young women's lives are changed forever.



Saturday, March 23, 2013

Military Musems


The photograph hung
Amid dusty Great War uniforms.
The caption read -
Name unknown
Died of wounds

I asked the woman
At the desk
about the photograph.
She said it had
arrived anonymously in
a box of army relics. 

I had a great uncle
Who died at Passchendaele.
He was my grandmother's twin brother.
I imagine him
smooth cheeked, clear eyed
like this forgotten soldier
willing to die for
King and Country. 

After her death
My grandmother's possessions
were packed in boxes and
distributed among the family.
All her precious little treasures
her little bits of remembrance
some of them maybe
to reside in military museums.
Three children save a creek from the developers. For children 7-11



Friday, March 22, 2013



I met Stephanie, the new arts teacher, the week after I saw Caroline on the plane to England.
"I'd like someone's help to hang my paintings?" Stephanie said at morning recess after everyone had introduced themselves.
"I'll give you a hand," I said, attracted by her vivacious pixie face framed by short dark hair so different to Caroline's cool blondeness. We made a date that evening.
 Stephanie's eyes lit up. "Thank you. Come for dinner."
Nigel, the manual arts teacher, a gangling one hundred and ninety centimetres, leered at us in his usual inane way.
I knew what he thought: Caroline has been gone a week and you aree already on to another.
Stephanie's front door was open when I arrived at her unit on the second floor of a three-story block of flats. Receiving no answer to my knock and call, I went in.
She sat on the mat in the living area wearing a pale blue sari, edged with silver and red trimmings, staring through me as if in some subliminal trance.
I went outside and lit a cigarette, wondering whether I should go home. I'd finished my second cigarette when she came out.
"Oh, there you are. Do you want to hang the paintings before or after dinner?" 
During my few minutes in her unit, I hadn't seen a sign of a meal in preparation. I glanced at my watch: seven o'clock. I was hungry. Caroline and I always had dinner at seven. I did most of the cooking.  Caroline decided the time. “Have we time before we eat?”
 Stephanie nodded, confirming my fears that dinner would be much later.
Read rest of Shanti on www.authorsden.com/laurellamperd

Substitute Bride - a Regency novel



Monday, March 18, 2013

Doctor and Patient



Doctor and Patient 

We sat at the table
Watching Chekov performed
as a dinner adjunct.
Little intimate things she knew
about me -
pap smears, breast examinations
the vagaries of an aged parent
and a philandering husband
but she was an enigma to me
so we sat in silence.
Wind from Danyari
Joe Hennessy builds a sheep station for his heirs in Western Australia


Friday, March 15, 2013



Skulls adorning a landscape of hills
Teetering beside chasms
Cut brown into green softness.
In the foreground, a folding of green
like my green crumpled dress
which I wore
when I went out with Robbie
who doesn't want me anymore. 

I thought of the skulls
And how one day I'd be one. 

Why wait fifty years? 

They are flying above me
Against the skyline
Like balloons of methane gas.
I want to be up there with them
looking down on my desolate world.
Murder Among the Roses
Murder detective novel set in Western Australia

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Koombana Bay  

Walking along Koombana Beach
To Port McCleod
The sun setting beyond Rocky Point
On Back Beach
I watch for the dolphins
But they are away
Frolicking upon some far off wave
Catching a last fish for the day. 

I look to the west again
You came from there
To our rendezvous. 

I reach the spot where we met
And try to remember you
fifty years ago
long hair tied in a ponytail
firm brown legs in shorts
but images of our granddaughter intercede
and I see her, not you
as you once were. 

Memories are fleeting
Tiny cameos
like rain drops on spring mornings. 

Suddenly you came
Sneaking from beneath the image
of our granddaughter.
I hang onto your smile
as desperately as I held onto your life
but the smile has gone
as you have
and I walk alone
beside the darkening waters
of Koombana Bay.

 Crossroads at Isca - romance - set in Roman Britain







Saturday, March 9, 2013


Read rest of story www.authorsden.com/laurellamperd


Matt first noticed her when she paused at the water's edge, silhouetted darkly against the setting sun.                                                                           

It looked like a scene from a glossy magazine.

The next evening he saw her again. She wore jeans, a windcheater and a beret set at a jaunty angle. The weather had turned chill after yesterday's heat.

The third evening, Matt positioned himself on a seat close to where she walked. When she came level with him, he saw she wasn't as young as he'd thought.

She'd been a fashion model, she told him later. They lay on the beach, their bodies almost touching, drying in the sun after a swim. She even had a model name - Krystina. Her parents had arrived from some eastern European country when she was ten

 "I love you. You know that, don't you?" he said, his hand curled around hers.

She laughed. "You're only a boy." There was a tinge of her parents' European accent.

“I’m thirty-three.”

“And I’m fifty. Old enough to be your mother.”

“You would be a very young mother.” He wanted to kiss the faint lines at her eyes.
Battle of Boodicuttup Creek. Suitable for children 7-11. three children try to say a creek from the developers.