Posted in Between the Pages

Anzac Day 2020 Musings

Surreal. There is no other word for what is happening in the world right now. As I stood in my driveway at 6 a.m. with four tealight candles burning and a lone bugler playing the Last Post and Reveille in the park nearby, I was saddened to see that only a handful of people in our street had attended this call to a somewhat solemn and lonely ceremony in a time when we need a show of solidarity.

I’m not passing judgment, only observing, so please don’t judge them either. A large number of the residents on our street are migrant families. Perhaps Anzac day doesn’t hold the same meaning for them as it does for us. Everyone sees the world, our countries, our heroes and our wars differently.

I am a migrant too, but I’ve never been more proud to call myself Australian on a day like to today as all over our beautiful country people did gather at the end of their driveways to pay tribute to those who died for our freedom.

This year, Anzac Day took on a whole new meaning for me too. My thoughts were not only with the casualties of our Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, but with people all around the world who have ever had to face the tragedies of any war.

I thought back to how Italy joined together amidst the COVID-19 crisis, singing on their balconies. How, in Alabama USA, emergency vehicles came together to pay tribute with flashing lights. How, in the UK, people clapped their hands for their health care workers.

My thoughts were with my cousins in South Africa; one a doctor, the other a pediatric nursing sister. I thought of and prayed for my two beautiful nieces on the frontline at the NHS in the UK; one a nurse, the other specializing in physiotherapy for people with respiratory conditions. They’re in the line of fire and the world is at war with an invisible enemy.

Since the start of this virus, I’ve watched the John Hopkins COVID-19 map evolve. I’ve seen it soar from 498,000  (scary enough) to nearly 2.8 million people today.  I see the death toll and I think … that’s 195,920 people too many. I cheer for the 781,382 who have survived this monster. I watch on in horror when the site creates a separate map and algorithms as the enemy paints the USA red with a staggering 890,524 confirmed cases and 51,017 fatalities.

In my heart I know … the worst is yet to come for America. Worse yet are the statistics world-wide that have either gone unreported or untested, or have yet to be reported. I doubt we’ll ever know the true cost, both human and economic.

I have never been more grateful to be in Australia right now as we flatten the curve with a steady 6661 cases recorded, a recovery of 4124 but 75 fatalities too many. I count it as a blessing that our government has worked together to act quickly and smartly, no matter how hard the effects of lockdown have been and will be in the months to come.

The economic cost will be immense – as is the cost of any war – but the measures they’ve taken are working to isolate us from this unseen enemy. As we push to reopen schools and businesses across the world, and lift restrictions, I pray that we will do so with care and thought for the consequences if we don’t wait until our confirmed cases are zero or close to. We can’t operate a business or educate and raise our children if we’re dead.

We may be winning this battle, Australia, but the war isn’t over yet. Be patient, be kind, be considerate. We’re all in this together.

In closing, I’d also like to pay tribute to the four police officers who lost their lives in a sickening and tragic traffic incident in Melbourne, Victoria this week. RIP Leading Senior Constable Lynette Taylor, Constable Glen Humphris, Senior Constable Kevin King and Constable Josh Prestney, all who died at the scene of the crash on Wednesday night. On this one, I’ll let Karma be the judge.

Until next time: Advance Australia Fair, God Defend New Zealand and God Bless America (they’re going to need it).

Advance Australia Fair

Australians all let us rejoice,
For we are young and free;
We’ve golden soil and wealth for toil;
Our home is girt by sea;
Our land abounds in nature’s gifts
Of beauty rich and rare;
In history’s page, let every stage
Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.
Beneath our radiant Southern Cross
We’ll toil with hearts and hands;
To make this Commonwealth of ours
Renowned of all the lands;
For those who’ve come across the seas
We’ve boundless plains to share;
With courage let us all combine
To Advance Australia Fair.
In joyful strains then let us sing,
Advance Australia Fair.

God Defend New Zealand


God of nations at Thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our free land.
Guard Pacific’s triple star
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand.

Men of every creed and race
Gather here before Thy face,
Asking thee to bless this place,
God defend our free land.
From dissension, envy, hate,
And corruption guard our state,
Make our country good and great,
God defend New Zealand.

Peace, not war, shall be our boast,
But, should foes assail our coast,
Make us then a mighty host,
God defend our free land.
Lord of battles in Thy might,
Put our enemies to flight,
Let our cause be just and right,
God defend New Zealand.

Let our love for Thee increase,
May Thy blessings never cease,
Give us plenty, give us peace,
God defend our free land.
From dishonour and from shame
Guard our country’s spotless name,
Crown her with immortal fame,
God defend New Zealand.

May our mountains ever be
Freedom’s ramparts on the sea,
Make us faithful unto Thee,
God defend our free land.
Guide her in the nation’s van,
Preaching love and truth to man,
Working out Thy glorious plan,
God defend New Zealand.

God Bless America

God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home
God bless America, land that I love
Stand beside her and guide her
Through the night with the light from above
From the mountains to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home
From the mountains to the prairies
To the oceans white with foam
God bless America, my home sweet home
God bless America, my home sweet home
(Source: LyricFind, Songwriters: Irving Berlin, God Bless America lyrics © Universal Music Publishing Group, Concord Music Publishing LLC)
Posted in A Bindarra Creek Romance, Australian Rural Romance, Between the Pages, Kees2Review

Take Me Home by Suzanne Gilchrist

I’m very excited to welcome to the blog, Suzanne Gilchrist, the brains behind A Bindarra Creek Romance.

Love romance? Love adventure? Love suspense? Welcome to my writing world.
If you love reading sweet, heart-warming and small town romances or passionate love stories sprinkled with suspense or sexy, dangerously high-stake romances then visit my books page. Under my new writing name of Suzanne Gilchrist, my stories encompass contemporary, sweet small-town romances and under S. E. Gilchrist, you can find edgy science-fiction/space opera romances, apocalyptic, and contemporary romantic suspense/adventure romances. No matter the genre, my stories always feature strong, independent women and gorgeous men they soon realise they can’t live without.

Hi everyone and thanks so much Juanita for hosting me as guest on your blog today to help celebrate the release of my latest novel, Take Me Home.

Over the last few years, I’ve become torn as a writer – do I continue to write in the genre I was first published in (science fiction romance) or do I concentrate on writing small town, sweet romances? It’s a hard decision for me as I love both worlds.

While my passion for science fiction was born from watching Doctor Who and Lost in Space on our old black and white telly with my father (not to mention reading everything I could get my hands on), my passion for stories set in small country towns was fuelled by my love for the vast open spaces of Australia.

From the time I was sixteen, I had itchy feet. My first venture travelling without my family was when I hopped on a bus alone to visit a girl friend who’d moved to Melbourne. My first interstate trip. I quickly followed this up with a camping tour through South Australia, the Northern Territory and Outback Queensland. Since then, I’ve travelled throughout Tasmania (again camping and Oh MY Gosh is it cold down there!), extensively through New South Wales and the Northern Territory and parts of Queensland and Western Australia. I’ve also travelled to Hong Kong, Bali, Singapore, New Zealand, Florida, Los Angeles and Boston.

Along the way I met some lovely people, struggling to make a living in harsh landscapes and difficult economies, and who gave me a new appreciation of life beyond my normal urban parameters.

My fascination with the amazing variety of the Australian landscape has never waned. Couple that with my desire to highlight the often heart-breaking difficulties facing our cousins living in small, dying towns manifested itself in the Bindarra Creek group writing series I organised.

Take Me Home is the first book in series three set in the fictional community of Bindarra Creek. As is often the case with writers, my first vague idea quickly morphed into a far different story than I’d envisaged.

Usually I begin my books with a situation or event before populating my story.

However with Take Me Home, I began with a character.

Abby Taylor, almost forty years old and living a life alone. The first question I asked myself was – why? Why was this attractive and personable woman living that kind of life? And it came to me immediately – she couldn’t have children and, in her grief and disappointment, now shuns all thoughts of family life.

I instantly knew I had my story. And I also knew how to turn Abby’s life upside down and challenge her hard-won choices. And I also knew I had to give her a HEA.

I hope readers enjoy meeting the quirky characters of Bindarra Creek again through our series.

And I hope you join me in cheering on Abby as she struggles with past griefs and learns to move onto a brighter future in my romance, Take Me Home.

To celebrate the release of Take Me Home, the ebook version of Bindarra Creek Makeover which was the first romance in the original Bindarra Creek series, has an updated cover and will be on sale this weekend 20th July and 21st July at $0.99.

Details of buy links are on my website

Take Me Home

Forgiving the past was too painful until now.

Almost forty, Abby Taylor has built a new life for herself in the small country town of Bindarra Creek. When an old friend convinces her to give two adolescent boys a temporary home, she is torn between a growing love for these orphans and the grief in her past.

After his marriage fell apart, Roman Taylor has focused on his career. An unexpected phone call sends him rushing to Abby’s side where he is drawn into his estranged wife’s new life – a life that could offer a future he thought he’d lost forever.

Will they seize this second chance? Or will fate once again destroy their dreams?

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