Legendary Creatures: The Bunyip


Book I of the Karakesh Chronicles

Chapter 29: In which Agatha is attacked by a bunyip:


Agatha stared at the water flowing along and gave a deep sigh.

 “What is it?”  Malcolm asked.  “Are you thinking of our parents?”

“Always,” she answered as she studied her grimy fingernails.  “But it’s not that.  I don’t want to seem shallow, but I’m tired of being filthy.  I’m tired of eating snails and undercooked fish.  Most of all, I want to wash my hair.”

“Again?” Malcolm said. “We are not stopping at an inn.”

“No, that would be foolish,”Agatha agreed.  “Would you be willing to give me an hour to wash at the river?” she asked.  “I promise I’ll be quick.”

“You go ahead,” Malcolm said.  “Take Carl with you.  I’ll make a fire and catch some fish. I promise to cook them well.”

With a much-improved mood, Agatha hurried off to the riverbank with Carl. 

Agatha was standing up to her knees in water, rinsing her hair, when she heard a noise that sounded like the barking of an owl mixed with the shriek of a woman.  Then something huge and dark lunged out of the water and grabbed her leg in its teeth.

Carl went flapping and squawking for Malcolm.

“Help!” he called. “It’s got Agatha! Hurry!”

–from Tangled in Magic, Chapter 29

The bunyip is a creature from Australian Aboriginal legends. Its name means “devil” or “spirit.” According to legend, the bunyip is a water monster that lives in rivers, swamps or billabongs. The early Aboriginal drawings depict the bunyip as a beast with a horsetail, tusks and flippers.

Said to be nocturnal, the bunyip comes out of the water to snatch and eat all kinds of animals, including women and children.

The bellowing cry attributed to the bunyip might also be the call of another animal, a koala or a barking owl. Is the bunyip real or imaginary? You decide.

Read more of Agatha’s adventures as she and Malcolm plot to retake their ancestral estate, Hawk Hill, from the evil warlock, Santer.

All books are available on Amazon, or from Handersen Publishing.

Preview: Growing Magic (Book V of the Karakesh Chronicles



Chapter 1

            My faerie mother didn’t want me.  She gave me my name, Bimi Lightfoot, and then she gave me away.  Who was she? I was wondering about her again, hiding from my stepfather under an overturned rowboat.  The boat’s drying wood smelled warm and fishy.  I dug up some sand crabs and made a little house for them out of shells and driftwood.  The crunch of footsteps in the sand made me look up.

            Yellow boots.

            Right next to the boat.

            No one in Karakesh wore fancy yellow boots.

            Bang! Bang!

            Yellow boots pounded on the boat.

            “Bimi Lightfoot!  I know you’re under there!  Come out and greet your cousin, Liri Flare!”

            Cousin?  Liri Flare?

This would be the faerie cousin who gave me to Demara, my so-called sister, when I was a baby.   Demara was only thirteen years old back then, so she handed me off to her mother, Lunila, like I was a sour pear or a rotten potato.

Bang! Bang!

 “Come out, I say!”

I stuck my head out.  He was all yellow.  His clothes were yellow, and so was his hair.  Even his skin was pale yellow.

“All the way, you scamp!” said the Yellow Boots.

I crawled out.

He swept off his pointed yellow hat.

“Liri Flare, faerie extraordinaire,” he said.  He had a big smile, like my sister’s father, Simead Nair.  Simead Nair was a selkie, a seal person.  Selkies are a kind of faerie.  Maybe all faeries had big smiles with big white teeth.

I knew Liri Flare was the faerie that had given me to Demara.  But I didn’t know much about anything else.  I’d never gone beyond Karakesh Village.  The family wouldn’t let me.

“You can’t go anywhere until you learn to behave,” said Lunila.

Lunila was my so-called mother in this family.  Earlier this morning, when I was down on the beach, I’d heard her calling me.

“Bimi Lightfoot!  You bad boy!  You get back here!”

She was standing on the cottage porch.  I pretended I didn’t hear her.  She’s not my real mother, so I didn’t have to do what she said.  I kept walking down the beach toward the sea caves.

Anyone could see that I didn’t belong in this family.  They all had skin the color of dark honey.  I was so pale that you could see my veins.  Sometimes my skin looked light green, like the inside of a grass stem.  My real family–my faerie family–lived at Hawk Hill, in the woods and in the mounds.  Faeries.

“Stand up and let me look at you!” Liri Flare commanded.

He sounded like my stepfather, Gerran.  Always telling me what to do, and how to behave.  Behaving was boring.

But now here was a yellow cousin in yellow boots.  Suddenly things weren’t boring anymore.


Liri Flare sweeps Bimi up into the sky on a mission to steal a horse.  Once away from his adoptive family, Bimi sets out to find his mother and learn the truth about his father.  He gets help from some of the magical folk of Karakesh, but other encounters are downright life-threatening.  Does Bimi find what he seeks on his quest? 


Growing Magic will be available soon from Handersen Publishing and Amazon books. In the meantime, catch up with the adventures of Agatha, Malcolm, Sada, Rami, and Demara in the first four books of the Karakesh Chronicles.



Welcome new followers! Thanks for reading!

Tangled in Magic: the beginning of the Karakesh Chronicles

Chapter One

Agatha Flees Hawk Hill

Agatha strapped her dagger around her hips, preparing to escape from her childhood home. At fifteen, she refused to be married off against her will. Her uncle Chaucey may have considered Santer, his counselor, an acceptable husband, but she did not.

Santer was half-warlock. He had left his apprenticeship early to manage Sir Chaucey’s lands. Fifteen years younger than Chaucey, the counselor was still old in Agatha’s eyes. He was a slim cobra of a man, given to wearing hooded tunics and sliding soundlessly through the stone hallways.

Agatha had always avoided his company. His slitted gaze made her uneasy. Everything about the older man repulsed her, from his yellowed teeth to the way he flicked his tongue like a snake.

She would not stay in the manse another day. Instead she would run away to seek her twin brother, Malcolm.

Until today, Agatha believed her twin brother had drowned, along with their parents. But after a surprise visit from Aunt Viola, news of her brother set her head spinning.

Her twin brother could still be alive.

Agatha descended the spiral stairs in her soft boots. No one intercepted her. Chaucey and Santer were snoring at the oak table, their heads resting on their arms, legs flung out and loose. The strong sleeping potion she had dropped into their goblets after supper had done its work.

Sliding past them, Agatha paused for one last look at Chaucey, her guardian for the past three years. His beard, once reddish-brown, was now dull and threaded with gray. His eyes, even in rest, were wreathed in wrinkles.

“He was not unkind to me,” Agatha thought, “but he did not care for me. He only cared for his dogs and his birds.”

She didn’t spare a glance for Santer, the counselor. Good at his job of managing the estate, the man was a snake in all other respects.

Agatha left through the scullery door.

By the light of the moon, she crept out to the stable of Hawk Hill Manse, and hastily tightened the girth on the saddle of her gray mare, Manakshi–a gift from Aunt Viola for Agatha’s fifteenth birthday.

Manakshi nuzzled Agatha’s cloak looking for a treat while she fixed the saddlebags. She froze when the horse knocked into a wooden bucket. The clatter it made on the cobbles disturbed the birds in the mews.

She began to lead Manakshi past the mews to the stable door when there was a rush of beating wings.

Archer, her uncle’s prize gyrfalcon, left her perch and landed on the grille. Agatha stifled a squeak of surprise. She stared nervously at the bird who stared back with unblinking onyx eyes.

“Take me with you,” said Archer.

Agatha soon learns that Archer is a valuable companion on her quest. She also discovers that Santer is pursuing her. Meanwhile, Malcolm records his harrowing adventures in a journal. Will Agatha reach Malcolm before Santer succeeds in destroying them both?

Tangled in Magic is also available at www.handersenpublishing.com

Guided by Magic: how it begins

Chapter 1


            I never told anyone that I saw the Grassman steal our baby.  I was four years old, minding my newborn baby sister, Toola.  Mam had set Toola in a basket in the sun.

            “Keep the baby quiet, Sada,” Mam said. “Don’t let her holler.” 

She went into the cottage to gather the washing.

            The day was fine, bright and sunny, and I closed my eyes while I leaned on the porch rail.  It was a rare moment that I wasn’t doing some chore or other, like picking burrs out of my brothers’ socks, or carding wool for Mam to spin. 

A shadow fell across my eyelids.  I opened one eye just a slit and saw a small green man carrying a bundle.  He was hurrying along the neighbor’s wall.  Jumping down, he tiptoed up to Toola’s basket.  He set down his burden, and peered at Toola asleep in her blankets.  Then he leaned over and pinched her cheek between a long green finger and thumb.

             “That’s my sister,” I said.  

            “Oooh, yes, that’s so!  And a fine wee worka girly she is, too.  We Grassmen be making a trade today–a girly for a girly,” said the green man.  He bent down with his arms outstretched.

            “Leave her alone!”

            “Hush, little worka girl,” the green man said.

            “Mam! Mam!”  I called out.  I didn’t know if I should run for my mother or stay with Toola.

            “Oh, too bad!” said the green man.  “The noisy little worka girl must have the sneezie powder.” 

The man reached into his pocket and threw dust in my face.  In an instant, I started to sneeze and sneeze.  My eyes watered and my throat burned.  I ran blindly into the cottage. I felt my way to the water cask, rinsing my eyes and mouth over and over until the pain and the sneezes subsided.  

Out at the back of the house, with her hands in a basin of sloshing suds, Mam had heard nothing.  I blundered my way to the wash table, blubbering and wiping my eyes.

“Toola!  Toola!”  I wailed.

“What is it, Sada?” Mam scowled.  “I’m over my elbows in work here.” She pushed hair off her forehead and left a scum of soap instead.

When at last Mam believed my desperation and followed me to the front porch, the green man was gone.  In Toola’s basket lay a different baby, all pale skin and spun glass hair.  She smiled and waved her little fists. 

Mam’s face looked shocked, then furious.  I was ready to run, thinking she would knock me into next week, but she didn’t.  A dazed smile came to her lips. As Mam lifted the infant out of the basket, a strange and lovely fragrance filled the air. I breathed in the scents of cinnamon and apples, and new-cut hay.

“Well, well, what have we here?” my mother cooed, in a gentle voice I’d certainly never heard.  “Such a pretty little thing.”

“What about Toola?” I asked.         

“Toola?  Aye, but the babe is here, is she not?” Mam said. 

“That’s not Toola,” I said.

My mother nuzzled the baby’s neck, breathing in deeply.  “ A little apple dumpling, you are,” she murmured, and put the baby to her breast.

And that is how my sister got her first name–Apple.  

Guided by Magic is the second book in the Karakesh Chronicles. Sada sets out to find her changeling sister (Apple) who was abandoned in the forest by their father when Sada was eleven years old. While searching, Sada rides with Travelers, spends time in a witch’s house, and deals with slave traders. Does she find her sister?

Guided by Magic and the rest of the Karakesh Chronicles are available at



Karakesh Chronicles: Book V is on its way

Bimi Lightfoot, ten years old, knows that his mother was a faerie. He knows he doesn’t fit in with the beach family who adopted him. Someday, he promises himself, he’ll find his mother and ask her who his father is. When Bimi’s faerie cousin scoops him off the beach to steal back a horse, Bimi’s chance to find the answers becomes a reality.

Once again, in Book V of the Karakesh Chronicles, the protagonist’s quest leads him into adventure, danger, and friendship.

Elf boy 3D effect

If you’ve read any of my other Karakesh Chronicles, you’ll know that the Kingdom of Karakesh is a land of magic and danger. The young characters encounter some fearsome faerie monsters, such as the dreaded fachan, whose glance may stop a heart, or the bunyip, a bloodthirsty dweller in rivers.

Book I, Tangled in Magic: Agatha sets out to find her twin brother, Malcolm, held prisoner by a warlock.

Book II, Guided by Magic: Two sisters struggle to unite and discover their destinies.

Book III, Awakening Magic: Prince Emric must avert a war between the faeries and dwarves.

Book IV, Ripples of Magic: Demara, a half selkie (Seal Person) hopes to join her selkie father in the sea.

Four Karakesh Chronicles are available on Amazon at


or from


I’ll let you know when Book V is ready.