LASR Anniversary: Margaret Tanner – Guest Blog and Giveaway

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A SUMMER TIME NIGHTMARE
Margaret Tanner

The ground lay parched and gasping in the grips of a drought. A few birds drooped listlessly from the ghost gums which were tortuously etched against the vivid blue sky. I will never forget this scene, having come up from the city to spend the summer holidays on my uncle’s farm.

Fresh from the city where garden sprinklers gushed night and day I came to this place where it had not rained for months. The sky had been clear for so long, my relations complained they had forgotten what a cloud looked like.

This one particular night still haunts me. Something woke me up, I couldn’t say what, but I had the strongest sensation of another presence being in the room. It was so dangerously casual up here. Everyone slept with their doors and windows open. Not like at home where we had wooden rods pushed into the tracks of the sliding windows and safety chains securing every door.

It was dark outside, but the moon sailed the sky like a ghostly galleon, and the stars looked as if they were pasted on to black velvet. I could see this through the open window which, being an old fashioned, double hung one, was quite a distance from the floor.

Fear gripped me. A fear so terrible I’ll remember the taste of it forever. I tried to scream, but couldn’t. I tried to use my hands to cover my heart in case the unknown assailant meant to knife me in the chest.

I debated rolling over and lying on my stomach, but an even worse panic gripped me. I might be stabbed in the back. Which would be worse? To be stabbed in the back or have a knife thrust into my chest. What would do the least damage? No sound would pass through my frozen vocal cords, my hands felt clammy, yet I was icy cold.

If I didn’t move perhaps the intruder might think I was asleep. Would a maniac stab a sleeping child? The curtain flapped in the slight breeze, letting in more moonlight, but the room still remained an abyss of darkness.

I had to be dreaming, nothing like this would happen in real life. I was having a nightmare. Probably too much television. Fear ate away at the small amount of courage I may have had, but finally I was able to croak. “Is that you, Ron?” I called my brother’s name, and it echoed like a pistol shot in the darkness. Hateful child that he was. No answer. In the morning I would pulverise him. No torture would be too great. I had been a master for years of all forms of subtle torture that an older sister could inflict on a younger brother.

Nothing moved. No sound broke the deathly silence. It was as if time hung suspended like a broken pendulum. The moon and stars were suddenly blocked out, and the room became a yawning, black, bottomless pit.

I still couldn’t move, but it didn’t matter because it was only my horrible little brother. Little! Screams rose up in my throat. He was only six, and short. That window had to be all of four feet off the ground.

Why didn’t I scream the place down and bring my uncle running in with his shotgun? Jump out of bed? I could scratch, kick and bite, but I was frozen, immobile, an easy victim.

After what seemed like hours, the feeling of another presence faded and I was once more alone. Alone, but alive. Finally, dawn stained the horizon pink. After what seemed an eternity, I heard movement in the kitchen and I dashed out there.

My aunt was preparing breakfast so I babbled out my story. “You were dreaming,” she said. A search of the house revealed nothing amiss.

After breakfast I went outside, and in the dusty front yard were imprints of large, crepe soled shoes. Uncle Bill always wore leather work boots.

To this day I can still remember that terrifying summer night.

margarent tanner Tanner-FalselyAccused200x300 (2)“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?

About the Author: Margaret Tanner is a multi-published Award winning Australian author. She loves delving into the pages of history as she carries out research for her historical romance novels, and prides herself on being historically accurate. No book is too old or tattered for her to trawl through, no museum too dusty, or cemetery too overgrown. Many of her novels have been inspired by true events, with one being written around the hardships and triumphs of her pioneering ancestors in frontier Australia.

As part of her research she has visited the World War 1 battlefields in France and Belgium, a truly poignant experience.

Margaret is a member of the Melbourne Romance Writers Group (MRWG). She won the 2007 and 2009 Author of the Year at AussieAuthors.com. Her novel Frontier Wife won the Best Historical Romance Novel at the 2010 Readers Favorite Award, and another novel, Wild Oats was a 2011 Finalist in the EPIC awards. In 2013, her novel, Savage Possession, came 3rd in the International Digital Awards contest hosted by the Oklahoma RWA, and it was a Finalist in the ChocLit Publisher’s Find An Aussie Star competition. Her World War 1 novel, A Rose In No Man’s Land was a semi-finalist in The Kindle Book Reviews 2013 Best Indie Book Awards.

Margaret is married with three grown up sons, and two gorgeous little granddaughters.

Outside of her family and friends, writing is her passion.

Website ~ Facebook

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Comments

  1. Sounds interesting

    bn100candg at hotmail dot com

  2. Did you ever find out who wore the crepe soled shoes? I felt your fear.

  3. It’s scary how real some dreams can be!

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