Monthly Archives: August 2012

Romance and Suspense


Was Lana and Paul’s reunion an accident?     Who are the cagey strangers in the hut?     Where are the missing medals?     How does Lana’s sleuthing endanger her life?     Was she right?     Will Lana chose love?     What secret is revealed to Alfred?     How does this secret provide motive and close the novel?

Tugboat’s Firey Cover


I am thrilled with this cover.  I always had an erupting volcano in my mind, but in daytime.  Of course – don’t we all picture those glorious puffy explosions of Mt Ruapehu when we think of erupting volcanoes?  It’s what I’m used to I guess.  So when Deborah hit me with this cover it was like I’d been punched in the stomach.  Isn’ it great?  Thanks Deborah (Tugboat Design).  Oh and here is a link to it

New Release: Fire in the Mountain


Lana returned to New Zealand after the tragic death of her husband, Yuri.  Both were musicians.  Too painful to continue without him, she finds solace in her old school friend Sarah, who inspires Lana to stay and take up geology.  She settles into her new life and new love until she unexpectedly reunites with Paul, her first love.  With that she is thrown into turmoil as she tries to reconcile the girl she once was with the woman she became.

Paul travelled the world studying volcanoes, devoting little time to his marriage, but he came home to study Mt Ruapehu’s lahar.  His love for Lana never died and when he learns of her whereabouts he engineers himself back into her life.

Every day of his life Alfred tried not to think of his years spent in prison camps.  Then some medals are stolen and he is inextricably thrown back to Monte Cassino.  But as he follows the search for the medals he is pleased to add some excitement to his sedate retirement years until it comes at a cost, first to Lana and Paul, and then himself.

Fire in the Mountain was released 23 August 2012.  You can find it on Amazon and Smashwords.  Enjoy.  🙂

Mt Tongariro eruption update


Although the mountain has been quiet since Monday small earthquakes are still occurring.  Preliminary ash analysis by Professor Shane Cronin from Massey University has found moderate levels of soluble flourine, similar to the ash from the 1995 and 1996 Mt Ruapehu eruptions.

When large volumes of this clothe the paddocks it is consumed by stock as they graze and leads to a nasty and deadly disease called flourosis.  Luckily, the ash fall was light and we’ve had lots of rain so there shouldn’t be any problems from Monday night’s eruption.

GNS volcanologist Michael Rosenberg said tests showed little or no new magma in the ash.  Therefore it is likely that the eruption is steam driven, but of course we cannot rule out magma altogether.

Stay tuned for the latest updates.  These should give you a good flavour for the setting to my nearly released book, Fire in the Mountain.



Ketetahi Hut peppered with boulders


Some years ago a group of us enjoyed my birthday in Ketetahi Hut on the north side of Mt Tongariro.  After Monday night’s eruption the hut has holes through the roof, floor and bunks and the water tank is askew.   Luckily, it’s winter and there was no one in the hut.  The track is blocked with huge boulders.

A short and beautiful walk uphill from the hut are the Te Maari Craters, where it was thought the eruptions occurred.  However, there appear to be new craters in the vicinity.  

It’s now up to GNS to determine whether the eruption is steam driven or magma driven.  If it’s steam driven then the initial pressure released should subside and we should see less activity but if magma is pushing into the volcano then activity will be sporadic.  (Just like in Fire in the Mountain, which will finally be released before the end of the month).  GNS will analyse the ash to determine the driver of the eruptions.

Mt Tongariro Erupts


Wow, it’s always exciting when one of our mountains goes off.  At 11.50pm on 6 August Mt Tongariro erupted flinging ash and hot rocks into the air.  Although there had been increased earthquake activity in recent weeks and slightly elevated gas signatures there was no real indication that the mountain was anything other than restless.  It is thought the incandescent explosions emanated from the Te Mari Craters which are on the northern end of the mountain.  Mt Tongariro last erupted in 1897. 

Volcanic ash has trended east towards Napier and some flights have been suspended.  Roads in the area have been reopened after being closed last night due to ash.

Police have set out this morning to check that no one is stuck in huts on the mountain.

My novel, Fire in the Mountain, is due out in three weeks!  Great timing!

Mt Pihanga



This is a landmark day for me!  One of my rare photos – since I vowed not to take photos anymore.  Must have been taken with my phone.  Anyway, Mt Pihanga is closer to Turangi than Whakapapa but overlooks the gorgeous Lake Rotopounamu which is part of Tongariro National Park, although separated from and north of the mountains.   The lake has a circumference of only about five kilometres.  It was created about 10,000 years ago by a volcanic eruption damming the outlet of a watercourse.  It’s acidity is not much higher than natual rainwater.  Tongariro Natural History Society – which features in Fire in the Mountain – have had a predator trapping programme in place for approximately eight years.  Currently there is a programme where one may adopt a hectare.

Thanks for reading and following.



Fire in the Mountain is presently being edited, I promise.  Whoever would start writing a book knowing it would take so long from woe to go?  However, the great job our New Zealand Olympians are doing prompted me to ponder an athletic feat in my book. 

The story takes place in a hut on the side of Mt Ruapehu – and if you’ve read some of my posts you will be getting a feel for it – there, hidden away is a set of dumbells weighing 20 kg total.  Pretty stupid for someone to cart those in on their back for two hours, right?  Who could make that stuff up?  Rubbish.  Well, it’s true.  A couple of years ago a friend was body building and no way was he going to interrupt his training schedule for a little r and r in the mountains.  When we found out why he was sooooo slow on this trip we ribbed him no end and suggested he could have used a few rocks instead.  Guess the training regime made him soft in the head.