December 19, 2015

Last night my son did not die

This is a different kind of post from what I usually talk about here. Today I'm writing a very personal post because I'm so incredibly thankful my son is alive and safe.

We live in a part of BC with roads that can be terrible, roads that are often completely ignored by the road maintenance crews. The exception for our lack of road maintenance is usually after a severe accident, especially after someone has died.

My heart goes out to the families of everyone who has died needlessly from something so preventable.

Last night my son did not die. Whether it was due to his presence of mind while he was upside down and submerged underwater and trapped in his seat belt, or it was just luck, or something bigger than all of us was watching over him, I don't know. Somehow he is still with me today.

This is the situation he found himself in while driving approximately 20 km/hr. And what he got  himself out of. Somehow.

In this next photo you can see the passenger window, his escape route. Take a moment to imagine. You'll need to start by envisioning complete blackness, because it was nighttime. The driver's side was submerged in mucky, stinky, ice-cold water, covering my son's head. He had to get his feet onto the ceiling of the truck so he could get the tension off the seat belt to unfasten it. Then maneuver to the passenger side and then find and open the window, despite being disoriented because the truck was upside down.

The tow truck driver told us that most people panic and can't even realize which direction is up, let alone go through all the steps required to escape from an overturned vehicle in the water, in the dark. Most people in this situation die.

I can only imagine what he must have gone through.

Half the time I can't find the door latch of my own car in the dark when I'm perfectly calm. My son has a good head on his shoulders. He got out.

I'm a lucky mom, right?

But he didn't have to go off the road in the first place.

He was doing all the right things. He has good winter tires. He carries weight in the back of the truck. He was driving at a reasonable speed for the conditions.

The truth is that a few dollars' worth of gravel would have prevented this. A concrete barricade would have prevented this. The truth is that roads beside irrigation ditches are too dangerous not to maintain.

Combine icy roads with sharp corners and irrigation ditches and zero road maintenance, and you inevitably end up with vehicles upside down in the water. With people in them.

It seems a no-brainer to me that there should be some kind of timely maintenance going on. Barricades on the corners, maybe? But what do I know? I mean, I value life over road maintenance dollars, I must be uninformed or something.

Obviously, being a writer, I turned to words. I spoke on the phone last night to someone at YRB, the contractor responsible for road maintenance in the Creston area, and I was told that Reclamation Road was "on the list." I spoke to YRB again this morning when a sand truck still had not come. Twelve hours (and a second car accident) after my son went in that irrigation ditch, a sand truck finally came and sanded not only the corners but the entire road.

This event reminds me very much of the winter a woman died in much the same way... the roads were not maintained at all, and then they were for a few months after her death... and then not at all. Something awful has to happen before YRB will mete out a handful of gravel.

I've spent some time talking to various people about YRB's company policies, and some interesting themes have come to light. People who care talk. Of course, due to strict nondisclosure agreements, nobody wants to make public statements about YRB.

Here is what I've learned:

The road maintenance company is well insured, and it's more economical to deal with lawsuits than to adequately maintain the roads.

The road maintenance company's employees receive bonuses for not using the blades on the plow trucks.

The road maintenance company's employees receive bonuses for not using sand and salt.

The road maintenance company's policy of valuing money over lives disgusts caring, conscientious employees, who then leave the company, resulting in an alarmingly high proportion of uncaring, unskilled workers on the maintenance crews.

Is this true?

It's certainly worth looking into, don't you think?

What you can do to help:

Please join me in letting BC's Minister of Transportation & Infrastructure, the Honourable Todd Stone, know that road maintenance is not the place to be cutting budget dollars, and that we need transparency in the policies of government-paid contractors. Click here to send a tweet to Todd Stone. Feel free to post the link to this blog post.

You can also share this post on the YRB Twitter page.

Thank you for reading today. I appreciate that you care enough to read such a long post. (Please forgive any typos; I didn't get a lot of sleep last night.)


November 05, 2015

Release Day: Unwrap the Romance

Are you ready for the second Chloe story? Today is release day for Unwrap the Romance!
This collection of six heartwarming Christmas stories, including A Gift for Chloe, is available exclusively on Amazon for $.99. Click here to buy your copy now.

I probably should apologize in advance for the rude thing Brendan says to Santa in this story... but hey, there are cookies at stake. ;)

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Happy reading! :)

October 01, 2015

Pre-Order Now! New Release: Unwrap the Romance

I am so proud to be part of this group of amazing authors.

(Not to mention... at long last, I have another new release, woo-hoo!) Thanks so much to everyone who loved "A Gift for Chloe" and asked for the story of Chloe's parents. Thus was born A Christmas for Chloe.

This Christmas anthology currently is available exclusively on the Amazon Kindle Store. You get six heartwarming Christmas stories for just 99 cents. Click the cover to buy the book!

5 Prince Publishing Presents
Unwrap the Romance

ISBN /SKU: 1631121340
ISBN Complete: 978-1-63112-134-0
Title: Unwrap the Romance
Publication Date: 11/5/2015
Digital Only
Page Count: 529
Subject Code Description
FIC003000 FICTION / Anthologies (multiple authors)

Marie, Bernadette Author
Hobman, Lisa, J. Author
Stone, Railyn Author
Lohrer, Susan Author
Gale, Amy L. Author
Dall, Jessica Author

BERNADETTE MARIE~Bestselling Author

A Romance for Christmas~A Keller Family Christmas Novella

Tiffany longed to have the kinds of relationships she’d watched her best friend’s family create over the years. The Keller and Benson families forged long lasting—true love relationships that come once in a lifetime. Unfortunately, her romances were a little more on the freestyle side. That was until she met country music bass player Blake and it turned out to be the best Christmas ever.

Bernadette Marie Bio
Bestselling Author Bernadette Marie is known for building families readers want to be part of. Her series The Keller Family has graced bestseller charts since its release in 2011, along with her other series and single title books. The married mother of five sons promises Happily Ever After always…and says she can write it, because she lives it.

LISA J. HOBMAN~Bestselling Author

Last Christmas~A The Girl Before Eve Christmas Novella

After two blissful years of marriage, Lily and Adam are going strong. Their relationship was always based on friendship and so they can pretty much get through anything.

That is until an opportunity of a lifetime is presented to Lily which will take her overseas to the USA.
Adam's role teaching high school English has been a part of his life for so long and the thought of upping sticks and moving across the Atlantic really doesn't appeal. Can he convince Lily that their life is in Scotland or will the promise of a new career in Hollywood be too good for feisty, independent Lily to pass up?

Is this one obstacle too far for the best friends turned husband and wife?

Lisa J. Hobman Bio
Lisa is the best-selling author of several contemporary romance novels. After growing up in Yorkshire she began her writing career back in 2012 following a move north of the border to Scotland. She takes much of her inspiration from the stunning, scenic Scottish countryside she now calls home along with her husband, daughter and two dogs.

RAILYN STONE~Bestselling Author

Restored Hearts

EnVee McAlister just bought a house. It’s an old Victorian home that needs a lot of work, especially if she wants to get into it by Christmas.

Logan Edwards is the contractor she’s hired to help her. Unfortunately, he’s not like any man she’s ever encountered and his arrogance and crass demeanor is making it hard to deal with him. Both she and Logan hold no punches and their terribly blunt personalities clash like oil and water.

But when she finds out about Logan’s tragic past, it forces her to deal with her own insecurities and emotions she’s desperately tried to forget. And instead of a house for Christmas, EnVee receives something she never expected.

Railyn Stone Bio
Railyn Stone, author of The Christmas Tree Guy and A Secret to Keep, lives in North Carolina with her husband. When she’s not behind the screen of her laptop, she’s usually enjoying time with her family. The only child of two educators, she learned early on just how magical words can be.

SUSAN LOHRER~Bestselling Author

A Christmas for Chloe

When free spirit Jessica Caldwell’s daughter is diagnosed with Down syndrome weeks before Christmas, her carefree existence sheds its holiday glitter in a collision with the regimented world of pediatric medical care.

For Brendan Kean, their first family Christmas is going to be the highlight of his life—until he learns their baby has Downs. Now his tangled feelings for his tiny daughter just make him want to spend more time at work. This Christmas is turning into such a disaster that some days it feels like even Santa is out to get him.

Jessica and Brendan are trying to salvage Christmas and their relationship the best they can—but could baby Chloe’s diagnosis be the one thing that shows them the true meaning of Christmas?

Susan Lohrer Bio
Susan Lohrer is a Canadian romance author and the mom of a lovely young lady who happens to have Down syndrome. You can sign up for her new-release newsletter at

AMY L. GALE~Bestselling Author

Christmas Blitz

Small town real estate agent Holly Clifford is counting the seconds until she pays off the debt incurred from caring for her sick mother and can move out of Hilldale Vermont forever. After forfeiting her college scholarship to Eastern University Law School to be at her mother’s side, she obtained her real estate license and took a position at Trust Reality. NICK SHAW is on the path to victory. As a high school football hero turned rookie star wide receiver of the newest NFL team, the Iowa Talons, success is all he knows. But sometimes there’s things fame and money can’t buy. When Nick returns to Hilldale, he puts on offer on a lakeside mansion up for sale by Trust Reality and turns Holly’s life upside down. Can she stay on track and resist Nick’s charm or will she blitzed by Hilldale’s football hero this Christmas?

Amy L. Gale Bio
Romance author by night, pharmacist by day, Amy L. Gale loves rock music and the feel of sand between her toes. She attended Wilkes University where she graduated with a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. In addition to writing, she enjoys baking, scary movies, rock concerts, and reading books at the beach. She lives in the lush forest of Northeastern Pennsylvania with her husband, six cats, and golden retriever.


Holidays Past

It doesn't feel much like Christmas in Green Haven this year. With bad weather and a relatively empty town, Marc is starting to regret not going home for the holidays. When an old flame shows up, however, a second chance at love might be worth the Christmas away.

Jessica Dall Bio
Jessica Dall is the author of such novels as Raining Embers and The Paper Masque and a number of short stories that have been published in both literary magazines and anthologies. When not writing, she works as an editor and creative writing teacher in Washington, DC.

Want to be notified about my new releases? Sign up for my newsletter (it's short and sweet and comes out about twice a year).

Happy reading! :)

February 25, 2015

Finding Balance in Your Life

Are you the queen of being all things to all people? Do you feel like your life is piling up too high and driving you bonkers? Then I have a treat for you! Pop over to the Anastasia Pollack blog, where I wrote a guest post today, and find out how and why to get a little bit of much-needed balance in your life. (But if you want to read the post just to find out how I got fired from the most important job in my life, that's fine, too.) :)
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Happy reading! :)

September 22, 2014

Grandma's Brownie Recipe in Bake, Love, Write

When Lois Winston invited a bunch of us other authors to contribute to her dessert cookbook, the first thing that hit my mind was that I should share my grandma's family recipe for brownies.

Now, I don't want you to worry that this is Kat's disastrous recipe from Over the Edge (I wouldn't do that to you). It's the real deal. Decadent old-fashioned chocolate brownies.

Oh, and if you're hoping for a low-calorie version, this tip  is a must: cut them into tiny pieces. Hee-hee!

This photo is of brownies my husband made. He added raisins instead of nuts. I'm eating one right now. Yum!

Don't you just want to bake some, too? :) The recipe is in here:

Buy links:
Barnes & Noble

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