Lifestyle or life sentence!

And so began the story of our transition from town life to rural bliss.

This was the last, and one of the most serious asthma attacks our son had had.  Our tools were never recovered.  However the low life that had “removed” them was found and appeared in court.  And we discovered that however tragic the circumstances, there is often a moment of light relief.

We sat in the vets.  Our fur friend had left us the day of settlement.  His earthly remains had been stored at the clinic while we made the transition to the new property.  My son and I waited patently for him to be returned, and as is common with the elderly, a lovely, somewhat wrinkled pet owner  made an effort to communicate.

“What sort of pet do you have?  A cat or a dog?” She smiled sweetly at my three year old.

“A cat.  He is in the freezer.”

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The first thing we noticed was the darkness.  No street lights, no traffic and the sounds of birds and sheep had replaced that of  lawnmowers and weed eaters.  Bird life is abundant here.  Everything from native fantails and Tui’s to Geese and ducks.

Read  more about New Zealand in the pages of The Quilt, Unravelled.  A romance, a saga, a journey from the high country to the beaches of Waiheke Island.  http://goo.gl/yrnj5L.  The story of our personal journey will continue soon.

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Fantail, a small native bird with a splayed tail

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Goose

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Tui, a native bird with a distinctive call & vibrant colour

 

Lifestyle or life sentence, continued!

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It was a good idea, wasn’t it?

The reality of living the country dream hit quickly and it hit hard.  The previous owners had abandoned their marriage, and before the ink had dried on the sale and purchase agreement they had also abandoned the soon to be ours rural dream.

Settlement day was fast approaching.  As a surprize my loving partner brought forward the date, organized friends to join us for drinks and rung to proudly break the news to me.  His proud moment was shattered.  I sobbed on the end of the phone.  I was holding our beloved cat who had just suffered a seizure.  The vet was on the way.

We huddled in a sombre circle clutching chilled glasses of bubbles and remembering the pet that wouldn’t join us.  We stared bleakly at the gorse and ragwort that had been allowed to flourish while the previous owners got on with their new and separate lives.  We frowned at the herd of stinking goats that were soon to birth stinking kids.  They too had been abandoned by the previous owners. We looked at the family of possums that had taken over the rafters.  They glared from their perches, resenting our intrusion.  Oh no what have we done?

The next morning we celebrated with a large dose of cholesterol, salt, sugar and caffeine at a local café.  Purchasing our small slice of the good life was a great idea wasn’t it?  Land banking, children growing up in the country air and room to move without the intrusion of lawnmowers and a seething mass of humanity on our doorstep.

We returned home feeling positive, invigorated and then invaded.  While we had been enjoying  an unhealthy break for the sake of our sanity a burglar had enjoyed removing many small, easy to sell tools from our yet to be secured sheds.  Later that night my three year old son reassured me he was feeling fine through lips the colour of the pacific ocean.  The pollens and grasses of our new rural paradise had taken their toll.  Miserably we made the too familiar journey in to the emergency room of the hospital.

The Quilt, Unravelled

Available on Amazon

Welcome to the rural dream.  This was seventeen years ago.  Like our “real life” The Quilt, Unravelled is set in rural New Zealand.  Our farm is situated a short drive from Auckland City.  Twin Pines Station is situated in the central North Island.  Today is the final day for proceeds of sales to be donated to a friend fighting cancer.

http://goo.gl/yrnj5L

Lifestyle or life sentence?

Our move to the country.  The first experience.

The houses bordering us were multiplying.  They stretched out in front like a tapestry of brick and flowed in neat squares towards the blue green ocean beyond.  It was time to move away from the growing community of houses and the sound of hammers, lawnmowers and drills.  It was time to look for our own piece of paradise.

Our first glance at the impressive slope of gorse, noxious weeds and the daunting gravel drive did not inspire confidence.  But when the lush green folds of paddocks and soft bush filled with native birds greeted us we both knew we had found our Eden.

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The reality of our new rural lifestyle.

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Native bush filled with Tui’s and Kiwi.

Two townies and their two young children arrived in the country with little knowledge, no stock and a large assortment of domestic animals and decaying cars.  Country life was not to be the romantic ideal  we had expected.  Our lives were already hectic and time stretched by family, a manufacturing business and a launch that gave us a place to unwind while anchored  in  the sandy bays of the Hauraki Gulf.

The launch was the first thing to be sacrificed when our  idyllic “lifestyle” became a not so ideal reality.

The Quilt, Unravelled

The journey of the troubled Clarke Family and a quest for love against the odds. http://goo.gl/yrnj5L

Congratulations to the winner of The Quilt, Unravelled.  Thank you to those that entered..

Waitangi Day

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Happy Waitangi Day Auckland City, New Zealand

Today we celebrate the coming together of the people of New Zealand.  A significant day in our history.  The Treaty of Waitangi (Maori Tiriti o Waitangi) is a document first signed on the 6th of February, 1840 by various Maori and representatives of the British Crown.

The Quilt, Unravelled

The Quilt, Unravelled. http://goo.gl/yrnj5L

WRAP UP IN THE QUILT

A little advanced news.  Another Goodreads giveaway will start on the 30th of January.  Enter and have a chance of winning a copy of this novel.  Open to all eligible countries.

I would like to share with you the latest review of The Quilt, Unravelled.  5 stars and the description below is beautifully written!

“A POWERFUL FAMILY SAGA WELL TOLD”

A single thread is fragile, as is life. But as more threads are woven together, the fabric strengthens. Now those individual threads may represent major themes of the human condition–both good and bad: the fragility of health, betrayal of family, careers terminated, sociopathic cruelty — or, on the other hand, there’s the kindness of strangers, selfless loyalty, a purpose driven life, the damp muzzle of loving dog, natures splendor and the possibility of true love. All these threads come together in bold colors and powerful strands in Rochelle Carlton’s compelling novel “The Quilt: Unraveled” to render vividly life’s harsh realities in a story that is both personal and intimate. This multi-generation family saga is immense in scope (and intense); but the author finds balance by placing the majority of the action in New Zealand (such a refreshing change from typical book backdrops). By the end, I found I cared profoundly about the characters Ms. Carlton had created, and that is the essence of what a good story is all about. I’m now waiting on her next book!

Review by author Mark Fine The Zebra Affaire

The Quilt, Unravelled

The Quilt, Unravelled

A SUNNY DAY IN AUCKLAND

The New Zealand summer is turning on a show for Auckland’s Anniversary day.  Auckland is nestled between harbours.  A narrow neck of land, with leafy, sprawling suburbs accommodating over 30% of the countries total population.  Today we celebrate, many of us on the water and a few, myself included,  mowing lawns, working on the new novel and feeding horses.

Excerpt from The Quilt, Unravelled.

The soft hint of daybreak sent a milky glow across the water’s surface. They stopped to watch the river turn into a scarlet ribbon and the first shards of light break through the leaves and cast dapples on the damp grass. Paul poured another cup of rich bitter coffee from his flask and skipped the flat stones across the water’s surface for Jess to chase.

Jess jumped on to the back of the quad, refreshed by a cool drink from the mountain-fed river. They picked their way through a stand of untouched native bush protected years ago from stock by a secure fence. Tiny fantails darted in and out of the canopy above, catching small insects and dancing to a chorus of tuis and woodpigeons.

They opened a gate, and turned away from the river that had now doubled in width, after a branch flowing through the Kean property had joined its progression. A rainbow trout erupted from the crystal clear water leaving behind a circle of ripples.

Steep hills rose in front of them forming a tapestry of large, orderly paddocks divided by neat, wire fencing. The pasture was covered in a lacework of sheep tracks worn away over the years by thousands of hooves. At the top Paul hesitated to admire the soft folds of countryside that formed creases enveloping the network of rivers below. Small pockets of stubborn morning fog hung like cotton wool in the deep gullies.

http://goo.gl/yrnj5L The Quilt, Unravelled. Tragedy brings them together.  The past drives them apart.  Their choices change the future.  An epic story of love against the odds.

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Auckland City, New Zealand. Sky tower.

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Auckland City, New Zealand.

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Happy Anniversary Day, Auckland City.

SINK OR SWIM

I would like to tell you about something important, something our family has been involved in, and something that is pivotal in the story of Paul Clarke and his family.

If you have read  my previous posts you will know I live in New Zealand.  To be precise Auckland City, which is located in the boringly named North Island.  My country consists of two main islands, and numerous smaller islands which all sit smugly in large bodies of water separating  us from our neighbours .   Chances are, if you were to walk in any given direction, you would eventually find  yourself either on the shores of  the Pacific Ocean or the Tasman Sea.

Therein lies the problem.  We love the water. We compete in numerous water related sports, fish in it, ski on it, surf in it and swim in it.  But often we are complacent when it comes to our preparation and safety.  Our populations is comprised of many intelligent, sensible individuals, and, well, quite frankly some that are not so sensible or intelligent!

Take the day the nameless member of our family found a group of ill prepared, drunk  fishermen hanging on to a buoy. In front of them  the hull of their tiny boat disappeared to its watery grave.   The circumstances were not that unusual.  What made this particular rescue stand out?  The individuals were hugging their fuel can and sucking nervously on cigarettes, while they clutched  the slippery surface of their plastic island.

Another rescue that comes to mind involved  tourists.  They were visiting our shores and armed with a high powered launch. They had   “beached” on an isolated island  as the sun sunk over the horizon.  Coastguard were greeted by raucous laughter, and a broken English request for a map and directions to enable them to walk home.   To the best of my knowledge only one human has succeeded in walking on water.

Many of the incidents the nameless member of my family experienced in Coastguard were neither  amusing, nor had positive outcomes.  Coastguard New Zealand is  a volunteer organization, and their crews are located throughout New Zealand.  In no way does that mean they are unprofessional.  Their training is long and extensive, and the  rescue boats are equipped with an impressive amount of medical, and safety gear to cope with most on water emergencies.

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Maraetai 1. This crew works close to Waiheke Island, home of The Quilt, Unravelled.

The Quilt, Unravelled by Rochelle Carlton.  Available on Kindle and paperback.

LAST CHANCE TO BUY FOR .99

Today is the last day of our .99c download sale.  Escape with the Clarke family for this extra low price.

Description (Amazon)
“This should become a TV series or have its own movie. It’s that good in my opinion.” Review by Mr Butler.

Joanne Kyle watched the image of a naked man waving with one hand while struggling to keep a towel in place with the other. It would have been amusing had it not been her fiancé who was fading from sight in the rear-view mirror. A few hours later she sat on the filthy floor of an airport toilet. Joanne could hold a courtroom mesmerized when she spoke, she could turn heads as she walked through a crowd. Today she could not keep one part of her life together.

Paul is the first member of the Clarke family to feel stifled by life on iconic Twin Pines Station. He wants to break away from the farming tradition, and to do this, he must leave his self-absorbed girlfriend. But Leslie has no intention of letting the most eligible bachelor in the King Country go, and she will stop at nothing to get her own way.

Tragedy brings Joanne and Paul together. What happens will change their lives forever.

Follow the unforgettable story of the Clarke family, and share a romance that will stay with you long after the last page is turned.

Jackie Parry said:- “The nearer I got to the end, the further away I wanted it to be.”

http://goo.gl/yrnj5L

The Quilt, Unravelled

The Quilt, Unravelled

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THE VALUE OF A REVIEW

Reviews for authors are crucial.  They help to guide readers to books that will suit them and are of an acceptable standard.  Who wants to waste their time reading inferior material, or pages of content that holds no interest?  Who wants to write for an audience that will be disappointed when they open their book?  Yesterday The Quilt, Unravelled received a short, (no your review does not have to match the page count of a novel,)  5 star review that I would like to share.

Super awesome book for all readers..

This review is from: The Quilt: Unravelled (Kindle Edition)
My wife and I both read this. What a an intense and beautifully written book. The author really captures fantasiice dialogue and character development which I seek when reading books like this… definitely one of my favorite novels so far in 2015. If you to be seduced and hooked in by a solid read, this book is definitely for you. This should become a tv series or have its own movie. It’s that good in my opinion.
Thank you Mr Butler. What made this review special?  The first sentence!  Of course for anyone that has read The Quilt, Unravelled they will realize it is primarily women’s fiction.  However, isn’t it great that both a husband and wife have enjoyed the story?
Two days remain to download The Quilt, Unravelled for .99c.  If it is on your to read list please take advantage.  The offer finishes on the 18th. It can be yours with one click!  Have a great weekend.  If you read and enjoy the story of the Clarke family please don’t forget to review.
The Quilt, Unravelled

The Quilt, Unravelled only 2 more days to download for .99c

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Have a great weekend no matter where you are!