MakeShift Galaxy, by Tash Turgoose

Slipping love between the floorboards,
Catching stars as if they’re snow…

This book brings poetry to each page, including to the pages with no words. Perhaps by the twentieth read-through I may be able to summon words of my own sufficient to convey its lingering power. But I’m still looking at the story and illustrations together as presented. Then at the illustrations alone. Then the story alone.

In a world where their love is illegal, a young couple find a way to stay together — but one small moment could tear it all apart.

Tash 2720

The haunting monochrome illustrations of this beautifully presented hardcover book could each stand framed on a wall. The style Makeshift Galaxy most brings to my mind is that of Shaun Tan. Like him, Turgoose uses both images with words, sometimes dispensing with words. What has happened? What does it all mean?  That is left for each reader to mull over in their own way.

It has the look of a coffee table book,and be warned: when you return with the steaming cuppa you may find your guest with book open, oblivious of you and staring far away. Into another galaxy, perhaps.

‘The silence screamed with stories left untold.’

Makeshift Galaxy an illustrated story about love, sacrifice and survival, is published by Odyssey Books.  It is stocked at major online retailers, including  Book Depository, and Amazon. Its free to see on Kindle Unlimited but this is a book you will want for real, on your bookshelf.

The creator tells more about herself at TashTurgoose.com.

You are in the blog of Mark, guardian and photographer for Mawson Bear, one of this bright world’s very few Writer-Bears. Mawson wrote It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In.

Felicity’s Gift Guide 2022

It’s time. This list is all stuff that I either made (wrote/photographed) myself, or was made by someone I know. For Young Kids As you can perhaps guess based on the title, this book is designed for refugee and immigrant kids who are new to Australia. It will be published in English, Indonesian, Arabic, Spanish, […]

Felicity’s Gift Guide 2022

My cat fever is getting spooky

I have cat fever. It’s like hay fever but much more furry. Can it have anything to do with How to Survive Your Magical Family? Everywhere I look, there’s a cat. It’s quite spooky now that my cat book is here. Seems the neighbourhood cats know something. Maybe they sense me spending too much time […]

My cat fever is getting spooky

Your Review is Very Welcome in a Writer’s Neighbourhood

Did you know, Fellow Baffled Ones and Gentlebears, that you can leave reviews of books? You don’t have to be a formal reviewer, oh no. You can just plonk down what you think about a book. You can say a lot about it or say only a little. It would be so wonderful if you do some reviews. For every writer-bear.

You can do reviews for Mawson and his books, if you like. Just ask, and we’ll send you a PDF version to look at. OR, look for the books. Two of them are FREE to read on Kindle Unlimited.

Each review is wanted,
Each review is good,
Your review is welcome
In a writer’s neighbourhood.

Mawson posting a copy of one of his little books to a lovely reader

Why your help matters:  In these days of (shudder) Algorithms all forms of recognition for a book matter. They are all noted. They all add up. All the Likes, the Shares, the Mentions, the Clicks on buttons that say ‘Helpful’- they all get taken into account by these (shudder) Algorithms. But the most helpful thing of all is a REVIEW.

YOUR review matters so much that I would send every reviewer a block of chocolate* if I could, smudged by tears of gratitude. Your review not only tells other purchasers of Grand Books about (cough) Mawson’s, but they also jump up the rankings of the book and the visibility of it and all that sort of thing.

It’s easy, really it is:  Some reviews kindly given for It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In have been only a line. Two lines. A few more lines. Click here to see examples, real reviews on Amazon dot Com.

Scotland bravely reviews books, just by plonking on the keyboard. Its easy.
Scotty plonks on the key board to do a few brief reviews of books.

It’s fun to have a bash: If you are stuck for something to say, simply bash away on the star ratings. They all get counted by those (shudder) algorithms. Here, our Sir Scotland The Brave shows how to stab most valiantly at the star ratings.

Where to do your reviews: With Amazon or Goodreads or Barnes and Noble or Dymocks or Booktopia or LibraryThing or Walmart or more. Mawson Bear’s books can be ordered at all these retailers. This bear is everywhere in this bright world.

Click ‘Like’: While you are at these websites, you can also run your eye down the page to the reviews left by other fine people, and click on the  ‘Helpful’ or ‘Like’ buttons beneath them. (This all helps with those pesky algorithms.

The awesome power of ‘playing’ on your device:  So, every Share, Like and Mention on your social media helps; yes, the (shudder) algorithms note it all.  Keep them coming and Mawson’s books( and the books of all writers who are not bears to) can keep bravely going out into the wide bright world.

Writer-Bears love reviews: Mawson’s own books are She Ran Away From Love and It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In and Dreamy Days and Random Naps.

*I was thinking 78% dark choc with chunks of macadamia and hints of chilli.

You have wandered into the blog by Mark, guardian and photographer for Mawson Bear, one of this bright world’s very few Writer-Bears. Mawson wrote She Ran Away From Love and It’s A Bright world To Feel Lost In.

Where to find Mawson’s Guardian

Dear Friends. To rely on any one platform/service/outlet run by moguls/barons/billionaires is unwise. We have not put all our bears in one basket, oh no. You can find Me, Mark, the Guardian, and Mawson (he’s the furry one) all over this bright world including, of course, right here at WordPress.

Mawson’s own Web Den on WordPress called www.mawsonbear.wordpress.com .

Our publisher is Odyssey Books, where you can find beautiful pictorial books, poetry, fantasy epics, memoirs, and great fiction.

All the books by Mawson Bear, the baffled writer-bear for our befuddled times

Amazon in all regions: This link here is to Amazon dot com.

Mawson on Instagram: @MawsonBear

Mawson on Twitter: See @mawsonbear

Mawson Bear and Mark the Guardian
Mawson (the furrier one) and Mark

Mawson’s Guardian, Mark, on Twitter: See @Mawsonsguardian

Mawson’s Guardian at Good Reads

Mawson’s Guardian at Pinterest.

OR use a Search Engine eg DuckDuckGo (or Google if you must) to look for ‘Mawson Bear‘ and you will find four pages of links (beams proudly.)

Mawson Bear is the top hit on search engines for himself.
We looked for Mawson Bear, Mawson, and we found you!

Our own publisher is Odyssey Books. Look also at Bookshop Org (supporting local bookshops), at BookDepository (free shipping), at Amazon everywhere, at Amazon Australia (where Mawson naps), at Barnes and Noble, at Dymocks, at Booktopia, at Walmart, at AbeBooks, Mighty Ape (New Zealand), Google Books, at Booklubben and more. 

Your host, Mark, is Mawson Bear’s Guardian, photographer, editor, blundering typist, chocolates fetcher and cushions re-arranger. Baffled Bear Books ABN: 4787910119.

The Wheeled Nomads

Has everybody hit the road but us?
Have all our peers contracted wanderlust?
They scorn to pay
A mortgage rate,
From suburbs they
Accelerate,
And leave we Stay-At-Homers
in their dust.
They ceased their dreary jobs, and left home.
Now down the endless open road they roam.
No plants to water,
Lawns to mow,
Caravans they'd rather tow.
The bonds of static life they've cut and thrown.

Seems many have converted bus or van.
Now they cruise like sailors on the land.
On highways, byways,
Road and track,
They rove - and they show
No regrets. 
Oh, they go where they will
 Just 'cause they can.

They've hurled away the ironing board and suit.
Of deadlines they no longer care a hoot.
They're tramping trails,
Pitching tents,
Fingers raised
To city rents,
Happy in their hiking packs and boots.
They've hit the road,
Those Jacks and Jills.
They range the plains
And grind up hills,
No longer merely cogs
In the machine.
Of their days
They make the most,
And they can claim
the ringing boast,
That everywhere
we want to go -
They've been!
Let's also go! 
Let's join the Nomads Grey.
Why keep slogging on
Each routine day,
Why drive blood pressure
Higher
Until we fast
Expire?
Go! Rev up the RV
And roar away.
P.S.
Of course, we'd only take
the bare necessities:
Favourite pillow, laptops,
Sixteen types of cheese,
Communications,
Medications,
Satellite TVs,
Wesuit, paddle board,
Kayak, scooter,
Coffee grinder,
Tackle, rope,
Outdoor cooker,
Prescription lenses,
Tyres (spare),
Dryers and shampoos for hair .... Errr, hang on, hang on ..

P.P.S.
But would we really take all this?
Let's stay home in comfy bliss.

You are at Mark’s blog called Baffled Bear Books. Mark is a dark coffee tragic, bibliophile and Guardian of Mawson Bear, a Ponderer of Baffling Things and one of this bright world’s few published bears.

Life is Stronger than War: Simon Bear in the City.

Life is stronger than war.’ Simon Bear in the City reflects (with coffee) in Lviv after seeing christening and weddings. Click link to read in full.

If you don’t know Simon, he and his People had to flee Kherson, the city, to Lviv.

Who is Writer-Bear Mawson? He’s the baffled author for our befuddled times

Do you sometimes feel a bit muddled about, well, Things ?

Sometimes rather ruffled when Things just go and, well, Happen ?

Sometimes feel confused one moment and completely baffled the next?

Mawson being baffled
Baffled again

It’s not easy being Grownup. All this business of having to be sophisticated and industrious all day long! It just wears you down. But when you arrive in Mawson’s cosy world, the frazzled reader can flop down among the cushions and relax.

Flop among cushions

Here you can find the answers to just about nothing at all. You can forget you ever had questions anyway.

FlopAmongCushions

Mawson and his friends are befuddled about most things most of the time – just like so many of us. And that’s all right.

She Ran Away From Love by Mawson is all about his little friend Frilly feeling hopelessly baffled by Big Questions.

‘A brilliant children’s picture book that does well to pick you up from a bad day. Writing about love, dreams, happiness, and finding your own identity is all found within this short happy book.‘ Review on Amazon UK.

Dreamy Days and Random Naps is about dreaming big and napping mightily. Perfect for all this bright world’s day-dream believers. Could this be you?

And in his first book, It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In , Mawson attempts to put into words that mysterious feeling of Feeling Lost. (See pictures above for covers of the books.)

It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In” is a book about optimism, searching for new adventures and making the most of life and love’. Review on GoodReads by Debbie Young, author of the Sophie Sayer Mysteries.

Our publisher is OdysseyBooks where you can find fun and beautiful books with pictures for grownups. And be sure to take a look at Mawson the writer-bear’s Author Page.

You are at Mark’s blog, Baffled Bear Books. Mark is guardian and hapless typist for Mawson Bear, Ponderer of Baffling Things and one of this bright world’s few published bears. Baffled Bear Books ABN: 4787910119

Sannah and The Pilgrim, and Pia and The Skyman, by Sue Parritt

Sue Parritt’s Sannah and the Pilgrim is the first title in her climate fiction trilogy. It is gollowed by Pia and the Skyman and The Skylines Alliance.

The genre Cli-Fi (Climate fiction) is making increasing headway these days as writers look at what a future world, wrecked by climate change, might turn out like. Sue Parritt took a close look at Australasia – Australia and New Zealand. Australia, of course, has already had increasingly severe fires, floods and droughts. I found Sue Parritt’s vision to be scarily plausible as well as entertaining.

The story: Australia and Aotearoa (New Zealand) are ravaged by droughts. In Australia in particular. The coastal plains have been inundated by rising sea levels. The ‘Whites,  although impoverished by today’s standards, hang on to power through apartheid. They force the ‘Browns’, mostly refugee populations from the drowned Pacific Islands, to labour on the little arable land that remains.

Sannah 2314

We see this future from the point of view of a resistance movement, the ‘Women’s Line’, as they endure dangers to help the serfs held in the underground prisons to escape to what we hope will be a better life for them in Aotearoa. This is an Underground Railroad of the future.

Sannah, “The Storyteller”, belongs to the Women’s Line. When a light skinned stranger calling himself Kaire arrives at her dome she must consider whether he is a spy. The twin mysteries of Kaire’s origins and Sannah’s purpose in “storytelling” drive along the narrative in the first novel. Kaire’s background when revealed gives us another viewpoint of the conditions on the planet.

As with all resistance movements, nobody quite knows who is to be fully trusted. Missions are planned, and after excruciating buildups of tension some go wrong.

We have escapes by desert and by sea, rescues, betrayals, brutalities and passions. Yet Parritt’s low key writing makes this stark way of life seem almost normalised, which makes it all the more disturbing; and the wreckage of not just the planet but of humanity springs out at us.

In Pia and the Skyman the story picks up from the bases in Aotearoa.

Parritt writes on her website –

“I want readers to grasp what is happening not only in contemporary Australia, but throughout the world with regard to refugees and the ongoing environmental degradation that poses increasing problems for humanity… By writing fiction that I believe could easily become fact, I hope to inspire more ‘ordinary’ people to take a stand and work for a more equitable and sustainable world.”

Sannah and the Pilgrim was Commended in the FAW Christina Stead Award, 2015. Pia and the Skyman was commended for the Christina Stead Fiction Award 2016 in the National Literary Awards of The Fellowship of Australian Writers. You can learn more about Sue Parritt and these books at her blog.

Where to find the trilogy: All the books are published by Odyssey Book and available through BookDepository as well as Waterstones, Indigo and Amazon. The third book, The Skylines Alliance, is also now available.

Another Cli-Fit series I loved and that you may well endure is the Chronicles of the Pale by Clare Rhoden. You can see my review here.

You are at Baffled Bear Books, the blog of Mark, guardian and blundering typist for Mawson Bear, Ponderer of Baffling Things and one of this bright world’s few published bears. Mawson is writer bear of It’s A Bright World To Feel Lost In.

Whale Sharks and Humpback Whales Too

The Search So Far: Mawson’s Guardian, Mark, and the Guardian-ess set off to see the Whale Sharks that migrate up past the Ningaloo Reef in the North of Western Australia. But on our day out on the water, hours passed with no sighting of a whale shark. We feared we would miss out altogether. But then suddenly they were sighted.

Whale Shark. Pic by Daniel Browne of Coral Bay Eco Tours
All under water pics shown here are by Daniel Browne of Coral Bay Eco Tours.

The skipper steered into position. We tourists shuffled on bums down to the marlin board, tense for the word to drop in. If the skipper had judged right, the whale shark would cruise in front of us. Go! And there it was! Just below the surface, moving along with a smooth up and down motion of the whole body. I was so excited that if I had not needed the snorkel to breathe, I would have eaten it.

Whale Shark. Pic by Daniel Browne of Coral Bay Eco Tours

We were actually swimming with this great beast. We spread out into a semi circle and followed as long as possible. Some lucky people were alongside the shark, on either side, 3 or 4 metres away, with a good clear view. Some saw mostly its big tail and other snorkelers. The beast seemed unconcerned by us and never changed its pace. It easily pulled ahead within a few minutes.

Whale Shark. Pic by Daniel Browne of Coral Bay Eco Tours

The boat came round to pick us up. This required using upper body strength and a big kicking lunge to land your torso as high up the marlin board as possible before clambering up to the deck itself. No problem for me in the calm water within the reef. But the swell had gotten up as the cold front got closer. If the stern lifted up in the swell at the same time as you made your lunge, your big seal flop could be difficult, even bruising. I clobbered my chest. Several people struggled with it. The crew helped pull us up, of course.

Whale Shark. Pic by Daniel Browne of Coral Bay Eco Tours

A second beast was seen and then a third one. The vessel steered into a new position, and again we slid into the water. Several people this time got an excellent along-side swim. They got those classic “I swam with a Whale Shark’ instagramable photos. But I saw only a powerful tail ahead of me. That tail moved almost lazily but it made my effort to keep up with it seem like a flutter board chasing a silent jet ski. I swam as hard as I ever have; and the crew member, Ellie, who was helping me hauled me along too. I had never moved in the water so fast. But still not much of a view for me this time. And I was really drained. Been in the water 4 times now. But it was not over. The RV Thunder turned to try for a third swim.

Whale Shark. Pic by Daniel Browne of Coral Bay Eco Tours

We came around again ahead of the course of the whale sharks as they cruised seemingly without effort north along side Ningaloo Reef. Only 14 or so our group of 20 went in this time, the others exhausted. With help of crew member Ellie, I got into a good position. The spotted beast was huge, perhaps 4 metres, bigger than the others. I managed to keep up alongside it although it took the most powerful swimming of my life and Ellie towing me as well. Within 3 or 4 minutes perhaps, although it felt longer, the animal had glided ahead until there was only its tail to see. We boarded RV Thunder for the last time, collectively elated and exhausted. ( I needed help to get up out of the water this time.) All had seemed lost only an hour before. But now we had actually swum with the whale sharks! 

Swimming alongside a Whale Shark

Then our day got even better. The earliest hump back whales of the season were out there too! We hadn’t even expected whales.

To see a whale even from 150-200 metres or so, a huge pecoral fin surging out of the side of a swell and a big body curving up, blowing, and diving down (“Tharr she blows!”) is an uplifting sight. We saw one perhaps 50 m away surfing along the side of a big swell and turning its big pink belly to us. Another (or perhaps the same) turned to the vessel. Yes! It came on, swirled around until it was belly side up, all white and pink, dipped lower while still upside down, and went right under the boat. We think we saw 5 different migrating humpback whales. What a day!  What a day!

(I couldn’t get vids of the whales, sorry, but here are more whale sharks we saw that day taken by Daniel Browne of Coral Bay Eco Tours.

Whale Shark seen on 7 June 2022. Pic taken by Daniel Browne of Coral B ay Eco Tours

Note: All under water pics shown here are by Daniel Browne of Coral Bay Eco Tours.

You are at Mark’s blog called Baffled Bear Books. Mark is a dark coffee tragic, bibliophile and Guardian of Mawson Bear, a Ponderer of Baffling Things and one of this bright world’s few published bears.