Is Your Story a Disaster? Should it be?

Something you don’t want to see out your window!

Well, not that I mean your story should be a disaster but maybe it can include one! I’m writing a class for the Kiss of Death chapter of RWA and thought it might be fun to share some of the intro with you.

Disasters come in all sizes, from the personal issue of losing a loved one to an event that gets worldwide attention. How would your characters respond to being in the middle of a disastrous event? A story with the backdrop of a natural disaster or (gasp) even a terrorist event can show what your characters are made of. Heroes are born from ordinary people in the midst of chaos. Like any complex story backdrop, the scenario and the facts within must be realistic.

In my twenty years with the American Red Cross Disaster Services in Southern California, we responded to house fires, earthquakes, floods and other events that displaced people from their homes. As a member of a federal medical disaster team, we deployed to tornados, floods, hurricanes, tsunamis, ice storms and heat events. In September, 2011, our country was rocked with the terrorist event at the World Trade Center that changed all our lives. Our Disaster Medical Assistance Team was one of many federal assets assigned to do patient care for the responders at Ground Zero. It was a life changing experience. Today, man-made disasters like active shooter scenarios, apocalyptic human-caused wildfires and national security threats are almost as common as acts of nature. On that note, acts of nature have become record-setting in magnitude and damage to human lives.

Who responds to these incidents? Who are the agencies that respond on a local, regional, state and national level? Who’s in charge and how does it change if more agencies are added to an event? How well do they work together? Does the role of law enforcement and other emergency services change during disaster? Under what circumstances does the National Guard get involved? What’s the role of Homeland Security? What are the roles of nonprofit and volunteer agencies? Do the role of universities and hospitals change during disaster?

The main goal of all involved agencies is to prepare, save lives, mitigate the disaster as quickly as possible, then help with recovery efforts. There are also other issues that no one wants to think about: Who manages the dead? What happens to vandals and looters? What is the personal cost to the responders?

As you can see, there are countless opportunities to include a disaster in your story – as the main theme, a backdrop, or an opportunity for a hero to be born. Could your story include a grocery store clerk at a concert who foils an active shooter attempt? An off-duty firefighter trapped in a gas station when a tornado hits and needs to rescue a number of terrified people? An introverted teenager on her post-graduate vacation when a tsunami hits and she must choose to help the injured people around her. A new EMT is sent on a post-hurricane disaster response with her ambulance company. A nurse in the ER is faced with having to move and manage patients when flood waters overtake her hospital.

Is there opportunity for romance? Absolutely. What if a librarian (whose only adventures come only from books) is trapped after a tornado with a number of frightened children and a gorgeous off duty cop? What if a paramedic suffering from PTSD is suddenly faced with a number of injured people after a hurricane? What if your young lovers are separated after an earthquake and are trying to find their way back to each other? Then again, what if your protagonist (or antagonist) is a looter, arsonist or terrorist?

Just for fun … maybe add a little disaster to your book!

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Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about TAKE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about TAKE

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


A budding artist, she would take out her sketch pad and draw whenever she finished her work or needed to separate herself from the others.

Joanne Guidoccio


The boy buttoned his lip and appeared to reconsider an eye roll halfway through. Which made his expression darned comedic, but didn’t take away from the seriousness of the situation.

Kathryn Jane


He loved his rescue pup. It hadn’t taken long for them to bond when he first laid his eyes on Brigh, shaking in the corner of the vet’s office, afraid of the world as she scrunched down to make herself invisible.

Marian Lanouette


“I’m putting a bandage on it now, Kim, but I’ll be more comfortable if Jennifer takes a look. It appears you will require stitches.”

Marsha West


He ached to go to her, to take her in his arms, but she had to decide on her own if she trusted him. The next move had to be hers.

Sharon Wray


“That’ll take too long. I need to meet really, really new people now. I’ve rounded the bend and am headed over the hill.”

Vicki Batman


There was something eerie about watching a person take their last breath.

Jacquie Biggar


Sex for him had always been hard and fast – a means to an end – but Quin deserved so much more. Mostly, she deserved his respect,

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


“You’re testing my control, Ms. Larson,” he rasped into my ear. He apparently had no intention to take this to the bedroom just yet.

Claire Gem


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about DESERVE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about DESERVE

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


She reached up and cupped his face. “It’s okay. I don’t deserve you anyway. Not after running out on you yesterday.

Claire Gem


I felt happy for Adam, who deserved a break, one delayed unnecessarily in my opinion.

Joanne Guidoccio


She’d worked her ass off, and damned well deserved to be going into the field today, even if Broughton didn’t think she was capable.

Kathryn Jane


An idea had popped into her head when the commissioner’s wife had praised him more than Melinda thought Jake deserved.

Marian Lanouette


How could she possibly understand? Joe Sterling had been like a father. He didn’t deserve someone like Joe as a father figure, a mentor, a friend.

S.A. Taylor
Shutter (work-in-progress)


It’s like she thinks she doesn’t deserve the space she takes up in the world, so she doesn’t do anything to cause anyone extra trouble.

Marsha West


In their anger and frustration, they’d let their physical and operational security go. Since she deserved an answer, Nate offered, “We were Green Berets.”

Sharon Wray


“Map challenged?” He passed me his gadget of torture.

“Don’t know how since I earned a merit badge in map skills.”

Vicki Batman


Sex for him had always been hard and fast – a means to an end – but Quin deserved so much more. Mostly, she deserved his respect

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I disagree!

by Kathryn Jane

 

I disagree with lots of what goes by me on FB.

But instead of lashing out, shaking a finger or fist, unfriending or blocking, I sit back and wonder…

Why is this person’s opinion so different from mine?

How can she not see what I see?

Why does she not think like I think?

How can she be so wrong?

 

That’s when I stop and regroup.

That’s when I suddenly wonder if that person has the same reaction to what I post?

What if she thinks my opinion is way off the wall. My beliefs are out in left field.

What if she decides to unfriend me because my view of the world is so obviously different than the view she has?

Then I smile, thinking about the things we have in common. Things that have nothing to do with our religious or political beliefs. Things as simple as recognizing that although we differ in some really important ways we are still able to be friends. To enjoy other parts of what make us who we are.

And there lies the beauty of being able to disagree, without it being earthshattering and friend ending.

I thoroughly enjoy much about the people in my life who I disagree with “emphatically” over several subjects, and that, my friends, is just way cool.

 

 

What about you? Do you have friends with whom you carefully avoid some subjects? Or friends you actively argue with?  I’d love to hear some of your stories, so please share!


Kathryn Jane, novelist, artist, educator.

Want to know what else I’m up to in my life? The books, the painted rocks, the workshops?  Click here to  visit my website.

Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about BELIEVE #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about BELIEVE

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


Believe it or not, I fell in love as I lay dying in the ICU. I was scared shitless. Then you were there.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


Heath closed his eyes and shook his head. “I can’t believe I’m standing in the bedroom of a complete stranger in the middle of the night in my pajamas.”

Claire Gem


Leo Mulligan—who didn’t have an airy-fairy bone in his body—believed in her powers.

Joanne Guidoccio


Alex agreed the coincidence seemed suspicious, but she’d reached a point in her life where she believed the universe often put things right where they needed to be.

Kathryn Jane


It’d been hard to believe that skinny stick of a woman had it in her, until her fist landed in my face.

Marian Lanouette


“I don’t know what to believe right now,” she admitted. “A man you loathed is dead, and you were the last person to see him alive.”

S.A. Taylor
Shutter (work-in-progress)


“Yes, but he’s a friend of Hunter’s, and they both went on about how clumsy I was. After a time, I believed them.”

Marsha West


“I still can’t believe it.” Sarah’s voice was breathless with joy or wonder or awe. Nate wasn’t sure which, but it didn’t matter because now they had something to bargain with.

Sharon Wray


I cannot believe this is happening to me. For the fifth time, I pawed through my suitcase. Please.

Vicki Batman


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Crash, Bang!

author 100 x 100   I love computers. I’m betting you do too.

I hate computer “problems.” I’m betting you do too.

Last year, my 1 ½ year old laptop—a first for me—crashed. Like I turned it on, and nothing happened crash. I panicked. My books! My stories! My life!!!

computer-smile[1]
I had a warranty on this laptop. I don’t buy warranties and a nice tech man put a new solid-state hard drive in. I sent the old hard drive off to have material retrieved (which, by the way, cost more to have done than the actual computer). Soon I was back in business.
But in the back of my head was “when is this going to happen again?”
Last week, my computer program was corrupted. I had everything saved, all was wiped, and restored. I had to spend several hours again to bring it up to speed.
Again, my brain went to the dark side— “when is this going to happen again?”
One week later, my laptop wasn’t running well. I determined to have the security software company run its scans. I’d paid for this premium service after the crash and could use as much as I wanted. Fortunately, what they found was no big deal (except in my head) and no virus had attacked it.
I’m still having thoughts of “when is this going to happen again?”
I don’t like living like that. Maybe that’s normal for laptop people. I’m not sure. I don’t watch movies, TV stuff, or do games. I write and buy handbags. So why me?
After a huge discussion with Handsome, I decided to buy a new laptop, but what kind?
question mark black So, I’m appealing to you and your computer knowledge…what kind of laptop do you like?

 

Just Desserts 400x600 72dpi

No problems here! Just lots and lots of laughs and happy every afters! “Some had me laughing out loud and others had me saying…awww. Quick little stories and a great way to escape from the stress of the day and just sit back and enjoy. Each story shows how two people meet. Sunshine, humor and heart all rolled into one enjoyable book.”

Find yours at:

Amazon    Amazon print Nook Other vendors

 

Texas Brags

Most of you know I live in Texas. My books for the most part take place in Texas, and my characters are mostly Texan. Texans are known for bragging. We have the biggest & best of everything: hair, tall tales, honky tonks, roads (these really do surpass most other states and not just because we have more of them LOL), and football (well, all sports). We have the scariest springs with hail, damaging winds and tornadoes. We also have the most beautiful springs.

This past weekend, Bob and I went with friends to the Texas Hill Country and got to observe another of the state’s great brags: our wild flowers! Not just bluebonnets which were the best I’ve seen in several years. They are the first talisman of spring.

But when they begin to fade, we are blessed with all kinds and colors of wild flowers. Vast fields rolling out as far as the eye can see. Our highways and byways are anchored with lovely splashes of color that look like an artist took a paint brush to the fields. So today, I’m sharing pictures of Texas wild flowers. I don’t even know all their names; I just know they are pretty, and they make me smile. I hope they do you, too. If you’re interested in where we went, my Thursday blog will tell all. It was gorgeously restful. Do you have wonderful wildflowers along your highways? Love to hear from you.

IMG_1106 IMG_1107

IMG_1115  IMG_1112My pictures don’t do these flowers justice. You just gotta plan to come see them next year. 🙂

Book 4 in The Second Chances Series, ACT OF BETRAYAL released this month it’s available at all the sites and in print from Amazon.  And today you can find a post all about the book on NN Light’s blog https://www.nnlightsbookheaven.com/book-promos I’ll try to add the actual link Tuesday.

Act of survival 200x300

Please sign up for my Newsletter on my website http://www.marsharwest.com Contact me at marsha@marsharwest.com , and follow me on my social media sites. https://authormarsharwest.wordpress.com/ for my Blog https://www.facebook.com/?ref=tn_tnmn

https://www.twitter.com/Marsharwest  @Marsharwest

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Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about PLEAD #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about PLEAD

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


How dare she take on that risk alone. He’d begged and pleaded to be the one to go, but she’d left him on the sidelines—helpless.

Jacquie Biggar


A young woman looked over at them with pleading eyes. “Please don’t let it burn down. We have nowhere else to go.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


If Kaitlin or any of the others suggested lunch, I would plead a previous commitment.

Joanne Guidoccio


“I said almost exactly that to the stars every night. I would stand outside wherever I was and beg you to hold on until I could find you.”

Kathryn Jane


Was it her screams? Her tears? Had she pleaded for her life? Had she passed out from the pain?

Marian Lanouette


Then I looked into Jett’s eyes, pleading me to let go and trust him. He stepped close, one arm around my waist and his mouth next to my ear as he whispered, “You can do this.”

S.A. Taylor
Follow Me (work-in-progress)


“Jeremy?” Addie’s voice came out sounding pitiful and pleading. Not what she’d intended.

Marsha West


Isabel stayed quiet, her head lowered while she read their futures in the pine floorboards. “Isabel?” Etienne pleaded. “This is how we save Sarah.”

Sharon Wray


“This looks like the launching of a fine friendship.” A very appealing idea. I went for broke. “How about thanking me over pizza?”

Vicki Batman


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about ASK #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about ASK

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


Once I dragged Ben inside the store, I asked the cashier to page the manager. My grip tightened on Ben’s shirt collar as he tried to bolt for the far-blue-yonder.

Vicki Batman


Her cold fingers brushed his aside for a better look. “What happened?” she asked, her breath sending prickles down his back.

Jacquie Biggar


I’m going to ask you something. I saw those scratches on your back yesterday morning. You and I both know they didn’t come from brush in the canyon.

Sam Bradley w/a McKenna Sinclair


Kate could tell after several months of his repeated attempts to ask her out that Daniel cared less about keeping his job with Bardach & Associates and more about getting her naked.

Claire Gem


Before I could ask more questions about Dougie, the door opened, and Jake entered, followed by what I could only describe as a handsome Silver Fox.

Joanne Guidoccio


Broughton wanted to ask James to rethink the assignment, but nothing short of a gun to his head would get him to do that. Chain of command.

Kathryn Jane


“Do you have access to all the accounts in the bank?” Edwina asked, twirling a clump of his chest hair around her finger as she snuggled closer to him.

Marian Lanouette


This part of his job was never easy, but crucial time had elapsed, time without an arrest. Now he had to ask the tough questions.

S.A. Taylor
Shutter (work-in-progress)


“You hide the gun in your mother’s house. When someone comes asking about it, you pull it out for all to see.”

Marsha West


“Before I forget, here it is.” Zack handed Nate a Post-it note and went back to mainlining caffeine. “The weapons inventory you asked for.”

Sharon Wray


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sneak Off and Read: Lines all about WANT #RSsos #RomSuspense

#OneLineSunday by #RSsos Lines all about WANT

Interested in reading more? Click on the book covers below for information about the novel and the author.


She didn’t want him to leave. She didn’t want him to go to that prison hospital somewhere in Maine. She didn’t want to lose him because she loved him.

Sharon Wray


The adoring expression they shared caused pea-green envy to skip through my veins and an ache to pierce my heart. I wanted my own man to love.

Vicki Batman


“What do you want, Mac, an apology in blood? I already explained…”

Jacquie Biggar


He’d had a mini-seizure. Just when he was about to make love to a beautiful woman he wanted so badly . . .

Claire Gem


I didn’t want to anger the grief-stricken constable who was bemoaning the senseless way Sarah had died, alone and exposed to the cool autumn evening.

Joanne Guidoccio


She not only wanted her husband out of the house, she wanted him out of the bank her family owned. Stripped bare; let’s see what woman would want him then?

Marian Lanouette


What he wanted to do was drag her into his arms. Same reaction he’d had when he first met her, but he sure as hell didn’t date anyone involved in a case.

Marsha West