Welcome to the website of Raymond W Clarke,

author of historical novels

HANNAH and OUT OF THE DARKNESS


Follow me on Twitter...raygold99
Email me at...raymondclarke@powerup.com.au

Extracts from my Books...



Hannah - the top selling historical novel that takes you back two hundred years into the colourful convict era of Australia.

It is July 1810. Hannah Stanley and one hundred and twenty female convicts huddle in fear in the hold of the convict ship Canada as the storm rages ...

"The Canada nudged southwards towards the great expanse of the Southern Ocean under near full sail and a favorable, increasing in strength, northwest wind. On the poop deck of the Canada, abaft of the helmsman and the duty officer, Sydney Fife, the captain and his two senior officers, Gordon Robinson and John Hendry stood in a tight, bedraggled group, the northwesters wrapping and lashing about their freezing bodies. Behind them, green seas gathered in tumult in preparation for the next assault. Driven by the screaming wind, the abundance loomed over the stern before sweeping the deck to knee height and thrusting the bowsprit and the ship’s bow violently down under. The deck crew clung to lifelines or any fixed objects, holding on with white-knuckle grips while watching, waiting and praying for the bowsprit and bow to emerge and shed water to both sides before returning to a God-blessed equilibrium.
Down below in the orlop, the convicts huddled together in their four-to-a-bunk groups and whisper in hushed tones as the ship begins to roll, rise and dip into the heavy seas. The fore and aft hatches had been battened down since yesterday morn, portholes barred and only the tiny scuttle vents, a target of fearsome glances, dribble tiny spurts of sea water. The stagnant air within the claustrophobic tomb fills with continuous moaning, violent dry-reaching, heavy green slime vomiting and screams of despair and terror from the weakened, the sick and the frail. The hold saturates with the foul stink of sickly puke, the gases emanating through the vents of the near-full defecation buckets and the penetrating, all encompassing tang of one hundred and twenty one unwashed and stinking human bodies.
Hannah gulps and holds her breath as she supports Rosie while the youngster purges her stomach into a bucket. Porter lays on her bunk, eyes closed, seemingly indifferent to the violent movement of the ship and the state of its occupants. Occasionally, she raises her head from her wooden pillow sufficiently to make some wisecrack about their situation. Her latest ‘Well, it beats Maidstone and Captain Cornelious, I think’ makes even sick Rosie to reluctantly give a wry smile . . . "

 
Hannah
is available from bookstores in Australia, a signed copy from the author or as an e-book from the following links:  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005A57TOA in the USA and http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005A57TOA in the UK.
 
 


Out of the Darkness - ─ A young English girl makes one mistake and a convict ship takes her across the world to the notorious women’s prison of Parramatta and the long fight for survival and recognition in the society of colonial Australia begins .

Sarah Dunleavy, nurse to the household of the Admiral’s children, takes up her appointment in Ellsworth Manor in the year of 1831 ...

"I woke with a start, cocking my head to listen. Nothing, then I heard almost inaudible sounds of sobbing. I leaped to my feet and ran down the passageway to her room. I stood, heart thumping in my chest and knocked. ‘Beatrice, ‘I said softly. ‘Is something wrong?’ A muffled cry prompted me to open the door. The scene that met my eyes took my breath away and I froze, mind reeling to absorb the horror of the moment and connect it with reality. The poor child lay on the bed in a bent position like a little babe. I reeled at the sight of the blood on her thighs. Her undergarments had been torn off and thrown on the floor. I closed the door, approached the bed and she raised her head from the pillow. It was then I saw the bruises on her cheek, the ashen colour of her skin and the depth of pain reflected in her eyes. She held out her arms to me and I came, grasping her intensely to my bosom, and we shed tears and rocked our bodies together. After awhile, I went to the water bowl, wet the wash cloth, and cleaned her face, arms and thighs. I placed her under the bedclothes, soothed her with words and kisses, and held her until she slept.

I left the room and gently closed the door. I moved down the stairs, pausing at the hallstand to take one of the Admiral’s stout walking sticks. I turned left before the Admiral’s study, strode past the library to the far end of the corridor and banged the head of the stick on the door of Lieutenant Cuttlegate’s room. He stood in the doorway in only his pantaloons, towering over me, and I moved until I was side on to him and swung. The curved head of the weapon clipped his chin and smashed into his nose. Blood spurted in a stream that covered the hands he raised and trickled down his bare chest. His eyes mirrored shock and disbelief and he froze in indecision as I struck again at his hands and shoulders. A scream of anger emanated from his bloody mouth and he lunged forward, grasping for the weapon and me. In his frenzied impetus, he lost footing and fell, sprawling to the floor at my feet. I believe I screamed too as I looked down on him, cowering with his hands protecting his head, and listened to his whimpering. In disgust, I struck once more before hurling the walking stick at his head. I retraced my steps back down the corridor, past the library and the Admiral’s study and turned to climb the stairs. I was surprised at my serenity as I entered the south wing and took those last few steps towards Lady Ellsworth’s chamber. Benumbed into the passivity of another world, I felt no emotion as I rapped on the door ..."

 
*** Watch for the pending launch and release of this historical novel: OUT OF THE DARKNESS
 
 


Literary Liberties ─ a sensual romance.

"Chelsea Cavendish was on the phone talking softly to her girlfriend, Stephanie Davis—one eye on the door to Victoria’s office—when a tall, fair-haired man, with coarse but not unattractive features, entered through the glass doors of De Jeunes and Fairchild.

‘Gotta go,’ Chelsea hissed and disconnected the call as the stranger approached the counter. ‘Can I help you? ’ She offered with a well-rehearsed false smile.
‘Good morning.’ The man surveyed her intently for a moment, swept a casual gaze around the front office before returning to her. ‘The name’s Massey.’
Chelsea initially thought his eyes were blue. Actually they were a startling blue as she looked closer. His voice . . . well, it was undoubtedly strong and full of confidence. He looks like a writer down on his luck, she decided, taking in the well-worn jeans and non-fashionable tee shirt with some indecipherable words that were most likely obscene. I can easily pick his type, she thought. He’s probably got his ‘blockbuster’ manuscript in that black bag of his and he’s flogging it all over town. Well, she’ll soon get rid of him. ‘Good morning. What can I do for you?’ Chelsea toyed with a biro and pulled a file towards her, flicking it open to show how busy she was.
‘Is Victoria in?’
‘Victoria? Victoria De Jeunes?’
‘Yes, that’s the one, the boss of the place. Is she in?’
‘I-I’ll have to check. She could be out. Is Ms De Jeunes expecting you?’
The man rested an elbow on the table top, and propped his frame casually against the counter. He smiled at her, those brilliant blue eyes cheekily surveying her face then moving downwards, lingering on the outlines of her breasts before leaning over the counter to better view her name tag. ‘I was in Chelsea once,’ he said, chuckling. ‘But I didn’t see you. I would have remembered if I did.’
‘That’s my name,’ she replied, her voice sounding rather shrill. ‘It’s not a place.’
‘Actually it is a place or rather places,’ he corrected, ‘but it could be anything if you use your imagination. Now where were we, pretty Chelsea?’
What a cheeky fellow, Chelsea thought, but conceded he was at least interesting in a macho sort of way. ‘If you haven’t got an appointment, you can’t see our Director,’ she responded, deferring to her parrot-type spiel. ‘I’m sorry. I can give you our email—’
‘I know the email address, thank you, charming Chelsea. I also know the web site and all the other communication links, twitter, facebook, linkedin, facsimile number and the darned lot. ’ He laughed, showing strong, square—and surprisingly white—teeth. ‘The only thing I haven’t got is your mobile phone number and what you’re doing tonight but we’ll get to that later, won’t we? ’
‘Will we? I think not. I-I—’ Chelsea spluttered and tried to look offended but her heart wasn’t in it. He was infuriating, this fellow, but how her heart raced at the very thought of him and her . . . ‘Oh, God, mister,’ she said. ‘Are you always so forward?’
‘Yes.’ He reached across and took her near hand and a tremor of excitement ran through her. ‘You have beautiful soft hands, Chelsea,’ he said softly, and ran his long, slender fingers—he had nice clean, square fingernails, she noted — along the palm. The feather-touching was magnetic, sensual and she didn’t want it to stop but . . . She shot a nervous glance at Victoria’s door and gently extracted her hand. Breathless, she asked him again. ‘Why do you want to see Victoria?’
‘Because, dear lady, as I said before, I’m Massey, Raymond Massey, your new contracted author and if it’s not too inconvenient, I’d like a bit of Victoria’s time.’
‘Oh . . . you’re that . . . Raymond Massey. Oh, my God.’ Chelsea, flustered, rose and sat down again. ‘I’ll see if Victoria is available,’ she muttered, stabbing at the wrong button before her finger found the right one. She glanced up at him while she listened to the ring and he winked. She was almost tempted to wink back then remembered her place. He was just too much, this man. ‘Yes?’ Victoria’s bellowing query exploded in her eardrums.
‘There’s a gentleman here . . .’ She heard Massey snigger. ‘Asking to see you—’
‘What’s his bloody name, Chelsea, or haven’t you found that out yet? I’m not seeing any Tom, Dick or Harry. I’m too damn busy. Someone’s got to be busy in this organization. You know the damn rules. Piss him off if he hasn’t got an appointment. What’s wrong with you? You should know better.’
‘His name is Raymond Massey,’ Chelsea squeezed the few words into Victoria’s diatribe. There was a pause as Virginia digested the information. Chelsea heard muttering at the other end. ‘Massey? Massey? Raymond Massey? Here? In my office now?’ There was a pause before Victoria’s voice rose. ‘Give me five minutes and send him in. Got it?’
‘Yes, Victoria,’ Chelsea replied, relieved, but heard only a click. She hung up and smiled up at Massey. ‘Victoria will see you, Mr. Massey, in just a few moments.’
‘I thought she would,’ he said laconically. ‘By the way, Chelsea, my sweet, you can call me Ray or better, call me for breakfast. Ha-ha. I’ll just take a seat over there on that uncomfortable-looking lounge and admire you from afar, until our Vicky is ready.’
Our Vicky. Chelsea froze in disbelief. He’d called her Vicky already. Anything goes with him, apparently. Her eyes followed him as he seated himself on the leather lounge and crossed his long legs. ‘These magazines are as old as the hills,’ he complained, and flashed her a grin which she found herself involuntarily returning, albeit with a slow shake of her head. It was no surprise when she thought about it. There was something about this fellow that spelled trouble but also . . . excitement. "

 
http://amazon.com/dp/B004KZP1SC in the USA and http://amazon.co.uk/dp/B004KZP1SC in the UK.
 
 


The Fernbank Campaign ─ a mainstream novel set in the ruthless political background of party politics. A realistic and sensual account of the last few weeks of an election campaign and its repercussions on the lives and loves of the main players as they assimilate into the ruthless world of party politics and illicit love..

Party politics and easy sex - that is The Fernbank Campaign...

"Lisa Fallon peered out through the gap in the lounge room drapes. From where she sat at the computer, she could see the green leaves of the gardenia bush dancing in the slight summer breeze. She rose and opened the sliding door to the garden, allowing the heady perfume of the flowers to filter into the house. Lisa inhaled, drinking in the strong scent, triggering an instant vision of her late father, trowel in hand, battered, paint-stained floppy hat shading his smiling, craggy face working in his beloved garden. He’d planted that gardenia bush for her and, from those exotic flowers, made her a special bouquet—it took him ages to prepare—which she’d carried up the aisle of St Marks on that very day she’d married Michael John Fallon.
She returned to the computer and stared at the text on the blue screen. The novel was taking shape but today was not productive. There was too much on her mind. Lisa saved the scene, backed it up on the CD and closed the computer down. He’d be home soon. Well, maybe he would be. There was an election on, he kept telling her but she wondered if that was the only reason for his irregular hours? Was there another woman? Again? She took a fillet steak out of the refrigerator and left it out to thaw while she prepared the vegetables.
The screech of brakes heralded his return. He always did that, skidding to a halt and flinging the gravel everywhere. She never used to worry about these boyish traits. She’d thought it part of his charm once those many years ago but now it was damn irritating. Why didn’t he just pull up and park like most mature people did? She sliced a carrot with vigour wondering what plans he’d made for the evening. It wouldn’t include her, that’s for sure. She listened for the vibrant footsteps that she knew so well. The door slammed and she jumped.
‘I’m home,’ he shouted, eyes on her, searching for her mood. He tossed his briefcase into the corner and grinned. ‘What a day. God . . .’ He followed with a grimace. ‘Lisa, you’ve no idea what a lousy day I’ve had at the damn office—’
‘Mine’s been exciting, too,’ Lisa interrupted. She waved the slicing knife in emphasis. ‘Let me see, first the washing, then the ironing followed by the pool . . . it was full of bugs, did you know? No, you wouldn’t, would you? What a mess, and then, Mr. Michael Fallon, big shot politician, you’ll be pleased to know I bathed your dog and put out the rubbish—’
‘Lisa, for God’s sake—’
‘Then I did find time, somehow, to nip down to the library and do some research on my book. Yes, my book. Did you know I was writing a novel? Do you care, Michael?’
‘Of course I knew about your book. I’m looking forward to reading it. God, why do you have to do everything yourself?’
‘Well, I have to, don’t I,’ she accused. ‘You’re never home to help me.’
‘We talked about this before, Lisa, about getting in help. It’s not as if we can’t afford it—’
‘And where will you be tonight, pray? More electioneering?’
‘That’s my job.’ His grey eyes hardened. ‘You should know that. It’s what I do.’
Lisa skinned a potato. She looked up at him. ‘What about those nights before this election started? You were still out. You’ve done that for years.’
‘Lisa, we’ve been over this before—’
‘You want peas?’
‘No, no peas. Lisa, please try to understand. I . . .’ He moved to her, arms circling her waist. ‘Listen,’ he said softly, ‘Listen to me. I love you. Look at me.’ He brushed the tears from under her eyes with soft fingertips then kissed the nape of her neck. She dropped the potato peeler on the tiled floor. ‘Michael, you—’
‘Look, Lisa, things will be different once this damn election’s over. Then, we will go away. Yes, just you and me, Europe, a nice relaxing trip down the Rhine. All you’ve ever wanted, a second honeymoon. How’s that sound?’ He kissed her briefly on the lips, soft butterfly touches that triggered her senses. ‘You really are a funny one,’ he said, looking into her teary eyes. ‘You worry too much, don’t you?’
She gave up and hugged him to her. A honeymoon, she thought, a real break away from this rotten politics. Now, that would be good for us both. She searched his eyes before they kissed deeply with increasing passion. Her head swam and legs weakened. Oh, God. She wanted to believe in him. She loved him so much ..."

 
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B005HNUDWK in the USA and http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B005HNUDWK in the UK.