Odyssey in a teacup – Paula Houseman

Encounters with a pair of supersized Y-fronts; a humourless schoolmarm with an unfortunate name and monstrous yellow incisors; and a tut-tutting, big-breasted, modern-day gorgon are the norm for Ruth Roth. She’s used to crazy.

Her mum squawks like a harpy and her dad has a dodgy moral compass. Add in daily face-offs with a relentlessly bitchy mirror, and Ruth’s home life feels like a Greek tragicomedy.

She hankers for the ordinary. But blah is not a good fit for someone who doesn’t fit in. And isn’t meant to.

Ruth’s vanilla existence is an issue for her besties—her hot-looking, obsessive-compulsive cousin and soul mate (who needs to do everything twice-twice), and her two closest girlfriends.

With their encouragement and a good homoeopathic dose of ancient mythology, Ruth embarks on an odyssey to retrieve her spirit. She’s confronted with her biggest challenge ever, though, when one of these friends sends her spiralling back into a dark place.

The decision she must make can either bring her out or launch the mother of all wars in her world.




Today not a review, but I can offer you a mouth watering excerpt. Enjoy and I hope you liked it enough to check the book out. Have fun!

I signalled to a waiter hovering nearby. He glanced at me tentatively, confused, probably because he didn’t recognise me even though I was decked out like a co-worker. He gave me the once-over, and then a knowing look crossed his face. He’d no doubt registered that because I was sporting a clutch bag and I wasn’t wearing the regulation black shoes that went with the uniform, I must be a guest. Clever boy. He checked me out again, this time, probably homing in on my fat reserves—relative to these scrawnies in black, I was overweight. His job today must have felt like a thankless one; seemed he wasn’t getting any bites from the penguins, which had to feel like a real rejection for catering staff. But I could tell he sensed that I was a safe bet. He made a beeline for me, gave me a lopsided grin and started drawing an imaginary air circle around his mouth.


‘You have lipstick smudges around your mouth,’ he whispered discreetly, as he handed me a serviette.


I wiped my mouth, and then loaded up with two canapés from his tray. I scarfed the first, and felt a bit calmer. The second one kind of missed my mouth, the filling plopping onto the left breast pocket of my shirt. Nice. Trying to wipe it off with the serviette drove the stain deeper and wider, so I covered it by crooking my left elbow with clutch in hand resting against it. I inched my way over to Reuben, who had just finished making small talk with someone.

‘Can we please leave?’ I hissed in his ear like tinnitus.

‘What? No-no-no-no-no!’ he machine-gunned, then followed it with a torturous slow-motion volley, in the way you explained a new concept to a young child or an idiot. ‘Remember. Grab. The. Bull. By. The. Balls.’ He then eyeballed me, and his head jerked back like a turkey’s. ‘What the hell is that red around your mouth? Cripes … you look like Fred Flintstone!’

‘Strike three buddy, you’re out. You. Can. Kiss. Your. Balls. Goodbye. When. We. Get. Home.’

In that moment, I would have parlayed a small bankroll he wasn’t so happy to see my zing return. But I walked away before he had a chance to respond. I felt nauseous and needed some air. We weren’t climbing Everest, so the oxygen depletion in the room was probably caused by all the bleached hair. Also, looking at the trout pouts kind of took my breath away. Their faces were as tight as their dresses. Damned upshot of too much surgical intervention. I made a mental note: If all these women’s faces are examples of Lenny’s handiwork, must remember never to go to him when my neck resembles a chicken’s wattle.

This thinking was all well and good, but deliberating was not aerating, so, head down, I

made my way through the crowd towards an exit. I briefly looked up and locked eyes with one of the penguin’s husbands. He was quite good-looking, although skunk-like in appearance—his black hair had a thick streak of white just to the left of his part. He was wearing dark trousers and a white open-neck shirt. Tufts of salt and pepper chest hair curled around a dog tag pendant suspended from a silver ball chain worn around his neck. He gave me an appreciative look.


He winked at me.

What? You’re trifling with me, right. No? I’m in hounds-tooth for crying out loud!

As I passed him, another one of the husbands handed me his empty plate!

Oh God, please let me die—a little supplication to Him who was on hiatus.

I made it to the door leading into the kitchen without being sick, but there, propped up against the doorjamb was a life-size Barbie doll with glazed eyes and thick, fuchsia-pink lips. A PVC Aphrodite, she looked almost life-like. She was almost life-like. I knew this because she stepped aside. I scurried through the kitchen and family room onto the patio.

Salvation lay ahead in the form of a tall, plain-looking, limp-haired (natural) blonde standing by herself in the far corner with a serene look on her face. She was dressed as casually as me, if not a little more unconventionally in a purple and green tie-dyed, ankle-length kaftan and brown leather sandals. She looked approachable, so I approached her.

‘Hi. You look familiar.’ I felt like a bloke trying out a trite pick-up line. It was enough to launch a conversation, but it was a big mistake. A mother of a mistake. She was not of this planet. Her words; not just my assessment.

‘I’m not of this planet. I’m actually Pleiadian. And you being magnetised to me has its purpose, which is probably to help raise your frequency.’

How did one respond to that? Other than forming my lips into an O, I didn’t have to because another Pleiadian turned up and they hugged, so I took the opportunity to slink away. It looked like I’d gone from no air inside, to rarefied air out here, and neither was a viable alternative.

Thank you, Paula Houseman and Rachelsrandomresourses.


About the author

Paula Houseman was once a graphic designer. But when the temptation to include ‘the finger’ as part of a logo for a forward-moving women’s company proved too much, she knew it was time to give away design. Instead, she took up writing.

She found she was a natural with the double entendres (God knows she’d been in enough trouble as a child for dirty wordplay).

As a published writer of earthy chick lit and romantic comedy, Paula gets to bend, twist, stretch and juice up universal experiences to shape reality the way she wants it, even if it is only in books. But at the same time, she can make it more real, so that her readers feel part of the sisterhood. Or brotherhood (realness has nothing to do with gender).

Through her books, Paula also wants to help the reader escape into life and love’s comic relief. And who doesn’t need to sometimes?

Her style is a tad Monty Pythonesque because she adores satire. It helps defuse all those gaffes and thoughts that no one is too proud of.

Paula lives in Sydney, Australia with her husband. No other creatures. The kids have flown the nest and the dogs are long gone.

Social Media Links – Twitter: https://twitter.com/paulahouseman Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/PaulaHouseman Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PaulaHousemanAuthor LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/paulahouseman