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A real hero's story

One of the more vivid stories from Black Saturday that sticks clearly in my memory is hearing of a lady who, about to be airlifted away from the approaching fire, let herself out of the harness to chase after her dog who had wriggled free. People criticised her for endangering the policeman rescuing her. I thought I would do the same in her case. This is the real story, from a radio interview I heard recently.

Rescue policeman David Key came on duty at 4pm, Saturday February 7th 2009. The police radio channels were inundated with chaotic calls. He thought it unlikely they would get a chance at performing many rescues due to the sheer speed of the wind and fires, but soon enough there came a call from the Channel 9 news helicopter: there were people trapped at a property on Coombs Road, Kinglake. David joined his crew in their helicopter and they were soon over the fires. Directed to the right spot by the news helicopter they performed all the requisite safety checks. Satisfied they were in a good position to go, David was winched down to the waiting people.

Just to set the scene, the temperature hit 46C (unofficially it went over 50C), the wind strength was likened to hurricane force, well over 100km per hour, fire-generated weather phenomena included tornadoes of fire. The fires, driven by the southerly change, were roaring up the side of the Kinglake mountain toward the town, and had already wiped out several towns including Strathewen. The house over which the helicopter was hovering was almost completely surrounded by fire.

The house belonged to a lady called Juliet. When David reached the ground she told him she had to take her dog with her. David (so calm in his telling) said that was no problem. He put Juliet in the rescue harness and they sandwiched the dog between them. On the verge of giving the go ahead to be winched up, a wind gust hit the line, knocking them off balance. The dog was spooked and managed to wriggle free. Now, this is where the real story departs from the reported one. David looked up and found the winch cable behaving in an alarming manner, tightening and going slack. Above, the helicopter was struggling, and even more horrifying, beginning to drop. What was happening was the fires all around them were so hot, so high, that they were sucking all the oxygen out of the atmosphere. The air became so thin that it could not support the helicopter’s weight. The crew made a snap decision and cut the winch cable.

So, Policeman David was on the ground with Juliet, her dog, several neighbours and three horses. And fire all around them. They got into their cars, two horses in a float and the third with a coat on who was led by a rein held by one of the people in the cars. The driveway to the house was on fire. The length of the road was on fire. The helicopter directed them to the only way out – through the flaming driveway, down the road to a fire track. They went in convoy, at the speed of the trotting horse – who was remarkably calm despite cinders falling on his head, mane and tail. Out on to Coombs Road, David directed everyone with professional calm.

And here is the nugget of wonder in this story. As they made their way down the road, which was burning madly on both sides, they were joined by other refugees. Out of the trees came deer – feral animals to this country – and echidnas and wombats, just as desperate to survive. Perhaps they were drawn by the horse, whatever it was, they knew by instinct that to follow that movement was perhaps their only chance to live. And this little convoy / Noah’s ark on hoof and paw made it to the fire track and then out into a paddock that the fires had avoided. Juliet looked back to her house but could only see flame. She was convinced it was gone.

But. Her house survived – the only one on Coombs Road not destroyed. Everyone in David’s group, human and animal, survived. David rejoined his helicopter and went on to rescue others. This is one of those little stories that happen within a major horrific event and they often don’t get told. They should though, particularly in light of the 13 poor people who lost their lives on Coombs Road that day, including Brian Naylor and his wife – Brian was the retired long term news reader on Melbourne’s Channel 9 news, coincidentally or not, the channel whose news helicopter directed the police rescue crew to Juliet’s house.

So, contrary to the little snippet of this story that was reported after the fires, where people tut-tutted about a silly woman putting her dog before her own safety, had that dog not wriggled free at just that moment, David and Juliet and her doggie might have been dangling halfway up the winch wire when the helicopter lost height. That might have delayed the wire being cut, and could conceivably have caused the helicopter to crash, right on top of the people and horses, in the path of the fire, almost certainly resulting in more deaths.

Moral of the story: pay attention to the instincts of animals, particularly in a crisis. And hug a policeman today.

Do a search on Google maps for Coombs Road, Kinglake.


I looked out a window...

Had to go to Sydney on business. Took the train back to the airport. It's an underground loop but comes up for air at Circular Quay. I turned around in my seat to look out the window. And saw this. And took a piccie.

A little fic

[P is for…], by [Caprice] ([G])

Summary: [P is for alliteration gone mad]
Word count: [147]
Characters: [SG-1]
Era: [Classic team]
Categories: [Drabble]
Author's notes: [none]

Excerpt: [The priestess said she’d let us out of this prison cell as soon as the pygmy people have passed by.]

Link: [P is for…]

ANZAC Day 2015

A quarter of a million knitted and crocheted poppies - and somewhere in there are the ones my mum made.

They are spread across the forecourt of Federation Square in Melbourne today, and tomorrow will line the route of the ANZAC Day march down St Kilda Road for the 100th anniversary of the landings at Gallipoli. This came from one lady's idea to make a few poppies that quickly spread all around the state, country and even to people overseas.

I really like them - in the deluge of documentaries, music, books, ceremonies etc that are going on these last few weeks, it's a simple, quiet way of honouring those cheery chaps who went off on a grand adventure 100 years ago and ended up in a living hell. Bless.

ABC article here.


Fair skies and clear sailing, Leonard Nimoy

Leonard Nimoy has moved on, gone to join De and Jimmy. I had just got in the car and was driving up the street. The radio people were talking about 'his' last tweet, signed off with LL&P. I pulled over, disbelieving, knowing who they were talking about.


By playing an alien on a tv show, Leonard Nimoy brought the best of humanity to us. He showed us a future filled with not just exploration, new worlds and new adventures, but an evolution of intelligent life to a place where peace and cooperation are foremost. Leonard took a divided alien character and made him into an icon that many have looked up to and been inspired by, and will continue to do so for a very long time to come.

I loved his little quirks of humour, the way he could niggle at Bill and De to bring out a laugh, particularly in the middle of a serious scene. Star Trek was the first science fiction I came across, and decades later the wonder of the original show and the books inspired by it still has not faded. I'm sitting here watching City on the Edge of Forever and again am choked up with emotion in the final scenes - 'He knows, Doctor, he knows...' These people, these actors who brought the characters to life, they are why Star Trek has been so consistently popular, so loved for such a long time. Not the wobbly sets, not the plastic props - the characters given life by the actors.

So, thanks for sharing yourself with us, Leonard. Fair journey to you.


Hottest place on the planet

Go Oz!!


only three months till it cools down...


Fantastic pic taken by CFA photographer at the big fire in Moyston:



Happy 2015

Happy new year to lj land. Here's hoping for a better year with many published words, a more peaceful world and maybe even a payrise... yeah... Am madly working on a new book, good news.

Weather is baking hot and bloody windy - 40C and 100km winds. Adelaide is copping it this time with a really bad fire in the Lofty Ranges. Fingers crossed for everyone in the fire ground. Big virtual hugs to all fireies everywhere. ABC news blog is covering the fire in real time: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-01-03/bushfires-threaten-sa2c-vic-live-blog/5998270 Victoria has had 327 fires so far with all but one under control or out now - fantastic effort.

Stay safe wherever ye may be.


Publication day!

Stargate Far Horizons is published today!

This is a first-off anthology of short stories featuring Stargate SG-1 and Stargate Atlantis, celebrating the ten years of Stargate adventures published by Fandemonium. There's a wonderful collection of authors in the anthology, promising a nice variety of tales.

Step up and buy a copy, and show the world that the popularity of both Stargates is as strong as it has ever been. Links are on my website.

New cover art

Just received the cover art for the upcoming Stargate SG-1 & Atlantis Far Horizons. Very pretty melding of the SG-1 and Atlantis Gates.

SGX-01 Far Horizons front cover

Far Horizons is published in ebook on October 23rd, and the paperback edition follows along a couple of weeks later.


I don't usually jump on bandwagons, but this takes the biscuit :


A lady in Queensland is trying to get a campervan company to erase the disgusting slogans painted on their vans. It beggars belief. Apparently we're still living in the 14th century...well, Queensland is, anyway.

New Stargate anthology

Hard to believe but it's been 10 years since the first Stargate novel was published by Fandemonium. To celebrate, they are putting together an anthology of SG-1 and Atlantis short stories by some of their favourite authors; and I'm honoured to be included. My effort will be an SG-1 story called Draw Down The Moon. Here is the list of the contributors:


Announcing our very first anthology of STARGATE SG-1 and STARGATE ATLANTIS short stories – Far Horizons.  Available this fall, and with contributions from Stargate novelists old and new, Far Horizons will take you through the Stargate to the furthest reaches of both the Pegasus and Milky Way galaxies.

We’re thrilled that these fantastic authors are contributing to Far Horizons:

Sabina C. Bauer – STARGATE SG-1: When On Earth

Diana Dru Botsford – STARGATE SG-1: Perceptions

Keith De Candidio – STARGATE SG-1: Time Keeps on Slippin’...

Sally Malcolm – STARGATE SG-1: Off-balance

Suzanne Wood – STARGATE SG-1: Draw Down the Moon

Geonn Cannon – STARGATE ATLANTIS: Pleasure Cruise

Peter Evans – STARGATE ATLANTIS: Bone Music

Jo Graham – STARGATE ATLANTIS: A Blade of Atlantis

Amy Griswold – STARGATE ATLANTIS: Consort

Melissa Scott – STARGATE ATLANTIS: Close Quarters

Far Horizons will be available this fall in eBook and print formats.


Here we go again.

We've had a stinky hot summer, five or so days of 40 or over and hardly any rain since before Christmas. The bush and countryside is parched dry and now we've got the day with huge gusty winds, first from the north and now swinging in from the south-southeast.  70 fires have sprung up all over the state today to add to those that have been burning already for the last couple of weeks. There is a huge one raging in Gisborne now, it switches directions willy nilly and has already claimed houses and a winery. Closer to home (5Km away) a big blaze started south of Warrandyte. It moved east then turned and headed north through thickly forested areas with a lot of homes. Some have been lost and the fire is still going. But the good thing is, so far, nobody has died and many people heeded the warnings and evacuated when they could.  Gippsland has a number of enormous fires going, one is even in the open cut coal mine at Yallorn where the power plants that supply the entire state are situated.

It's five years and one day since Black Saturday.


Welcome to one of the most dangerous countries in the world!


Seriously?  Yahoo7 - get thee to an editing skool.


'in the hopes'...
Not even gonna mention the other.
As the might Jack O'Neill would say: Oy.
Some days you cook a dish that turns out yummier than expected. Instead of scribbling it down and forgetting where I put it, I'm going to post it, and other weird creations of mine. Tonight's effort: Lentil and veggie tian, based on a Gabriel Gate recipe from last year's Tour de France.
Cook up a pile of red lentils in veggie stock. I used half a 375g bag. They're pretty much cooked when the water's boiled over the top of the pot and the lentils are near to mushy.
Butter a casserole or pie dish (yeah, yeah, should use olive oil but couldn't afford it this month)
When the lentils have cooled somewhat, spoon them into the dish.
In the meantime, chop a big onion (or two smaller ones) and fry in a bit of butter (or oil). Add a few sliced baby carrots and half (or however much you want) a capsicum, sliced or chopped. i used a yellow capsicum, they're nice and sweet.
The lentils looked a bit boring by themselves - tasted yum though - so I chopped up a stick of celery and a big spring onion and mixed them into the lentils, topped with a good shake of ground pepper and some lemon myrtle (an Aussie herb, gorgeous. Lemon thyme would do too.)
So, the onion, carrot and capsicum are nicely cooked up - spoon them over the lentils. Top with slices of zucchini and tomatoes - I used kumatos which are a green and red tomato, very nice.
Top with grated cheese and some dukkha.  Cook in oven for about 40 mins, 180 degrees.

I had mine with a slice of teriyaki tofu - supurb!  189

Out of work (nearly) again...

It's been ages since I posted a post. Been busy with two nights a week studying for a Diploma in professional writing and editing. Work - that nice job at a wonderful company full of caring people - has degenerated over the last two years into a hateful grind, under the thumb of a bullying sociopath. Years of poor leadership and worse decisions saw boss #2 overthrown by a cunning, nasty, nasty man. His only way to save money was to fire half the staff, and not in a nice way. They were picked off, like a vulture circling over the weakest, and thrown out with no notice and a form-written email as an epitaph. I especially hate him for Georgie - 16 years of service and loved by everyone - I had to run down the road to say goodbye to her, and my good friend Maggie, equally loved by staff and customers (not by the psycho), whose inconceivable treatment lead to a year-long breakdown for her.

Early this year we suddenly had hope - the owners got sick of years of no profit (and I'm sure tales of the psycho's increasingly erratic behaviour got back to them) and he was out on 'early retirement'. Yay we thought. But, nobody replaced him. The owners decided to rule from afar (Asia) and we kept on with doing our best. I even exceeded the ridiculous budget target the psycho had set (oh, wow, what a great job you did - not). Then, Friday week ago, the owners decended with strangers in tow, and declare it's in voluntary administration, which means not quite bankrupt but not enough cash to keep on. Ironically it was the Aussie directors who pulled out, not the Asian ones. So, spent last week clearing out my desk, waiting for news. Suppliers immediately cut us off, customers mostly likewise, the administrators put it up for sale and don't anticipate anyone wanting the whole business. Nobody is hopeful we'll be there past this week. Only thing to be grateful is that the government will cover us for any entitlements the company can't pay. It's a sad, shameful end for a 60 year old company that is about the last library supplier that was Australian owned and operated.

On the bright side, I'll get a decent payout this time, and will have time to write. And it's the time of La Tour - the magnificent French countryside is all over my big (upaid for) telly, and my fluffy puppy is asleep at my feet. Things could be worse!

Greenpeace petition - save our birds!

Yet another example of the bastardry of big business - Coca Cola is trying to stop the Northern Territory government, and by extension the rest of the country, from implementing a buy back scheme for drink containers. It's boggling how a simple initiative that would only benefit the environment and every living thing in it can be held to ransom by these people who are so desparate to cling to their billions. Please sign the petition:


Blessings upon you!

Sabat, epilogue


It had been so long since he’d used a Stargate, he forgot to breathe out before going in. When the three of them emerged, he choked and spluttered, letting Jack and Sabire guide him across sun-warmed stone. They sat him down on the dais’ edge.

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Sabat, chapter two

Chapter Two




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The Sun On The Horizon - it's finished.

So, here it is. Done and polished. Hope I've picked up all the typos. I release my baby to the winds and hope it finds favour with my dear readers.

The Sun On The Horizon.
Book Four.

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Blerk. Here we go again, hot hot hot day all over the country. Perth has had a week of 40+ temperatures, Adelaide got to 45 today, we had 41 and Hobart had 42 - an all time record for them. Fires are going in most states, but Tassie is copping it hard this time. Even though it's the middle of the night they are issuing warnings for evacuations in towns around Hobart with many areas declared it's too late to leave, more than 80 homes are gone. Hundreds of people are on a beach waiting for evacuation on the peninsula where Port Arthur is, it's cut off by road and power. This is summer holiday time so there'll be a lot of tourists and holidaymakers. They're saying temperatures were recorded up to 55C at the front of the fire at Dunalley.

The ABC has a running blog

This pic is pretty striking - Hobart jan 4 2013
It's four years since Black Saturday and for a lot of people the memories are still too fresh. Hope this toll this time is nothing like that one.
Last chapter of N'Has'y is done and up : The Circle Closes.

Read at my website, ff.net or AO3

The final chapter, Sabat will be shorter and hopefully appearing a lot quicker than the last one!



Finally, my head is back in a functioning mode. I've finished the last chapter of N'Has'y. Just need to type it up and post it. Two more chapters and the whole thing will be done and over. Maybe by Christmas...


Starting all over again

So, all the cool kids have left lj and I'm trailing along behind to DW, finding some familiar names and a whole slew of new fic and stuff. I'll mirror my lj posts over here when I work out how.

Germain Greer on 50 Shades

On a live Q&A show tonight: 'I've been asked to review it at least ten times.'
Presenter: 'It's actually three books.'
GG: 'Is it? Oh, shit...'

And in discussing how technology is enabling the ability of writers to collaborate, another panellist mentioned fan fic and how it is encouraged by the internet... Heh. I wanted to point out that fic started back in the 70s when the highest point of tech was a roneo machine (I don't even know how to spell that!)


Colorado Springs has a special place in the hearts of Stargate fans, and it's in a bad way at the moment. I was reading Carol Berg's website today - she lives in CS - and she mentioned the massive wildfires raging so close to the city. Hundreds of homes have been lost already, thousands of people evacuated. They say the fires are the worst ever experienced there. The Air Force Academy is evacuating cadets, too. The pictures on the Colorado Springs Gazette site are scarily all too similar to the Black Saturday fires here of 2009.

This photo of Colorado Springs reminds me of the one taken close to my home on Black Saturday:
Colorado Springs fires

Holy shakin' walls, Batman!

An hour or so ago we had an actual, real earthquake. I was putting rubbish in the bin in the laundry and there was this rumble on the roof. I thought it was possums playing chasey, which they do sometimes, but it went on and on and the washing machine started vibrating, the floor too, the wall shook and the tiles on the roof sounded like there was an elephant playing chasey on it.  Turns out it was a 5.2 mag earthquake - the biggest ever felt in Melbourne. We don't get earthquakes. Don't like earthquakes...  It was scary enough with that much shaking - can't imagine what a full-on one would be like. Oy. What's with lj - can't get a cursor to show, can't get a carriage return for a new paragraph... World's gone mad!

eta - 5.3 mag - biggest quake in over 100 years.! Woohoo!

My puppy ate my fic

Omg, I'd forgotten how all-consuming puppies are. I had planned to do the final chapter of N'Has'y in April, but then this turned up...


Meet Honey. She's a cavoodle. She's doubled in size since this photo - hopefully she'll stop growing soon!

Ficcieness will resume when the pooing, piddling, chewing, running, jumping, munching etc subsides. :)


Nearly 14,000 for this one, bigger than I expected. That just leaves the final chapter to do, yay!

Chapter Ten, Kemyt and Abdjeu

There was a slithery, slurping noise, and there he was: tall, lanky frame, silver hair, sardonic smile, P-90 and tac vest incongruously over jeans and his best fishing shirt. He paused for a moment, eyes raking over the square and the hundreds of gaping onlookers. ‘We come in peace. Take me to your leader!’

Read here on my website.


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