Tag Archives: Donna Jean McDunn

I Don’t Want to be One of Those!

VISIONS book two of THE NIGHTMARES SERIES  Emily must help a murdered child find closure and stop a vengeful ghost from possessing and destroying innocent lives.

VISIONS book two of THE NIGHTMARES SERIES
Emily must help a murdered child find closure and stop a vengeful ghost from possessing and destroying innocent lives.

The second book in The Nightmares Series, Visions, is now available on MuseItUp Publishing’s and Amazon’s websites and also many other places where e-books can be found, but that’s not what this post is about.

I feel as though I’ve neglected my blog the last couple of weeks months okay! Years! I’m a terrible blogger. I admit it. It’s not that I don’t enjoy blogging, because I do. It’s really because I want to talk about my books and seriously, it’s not that I expect anyone to read them. I just like mentioning their titles, Nightmares, Visions and next year, The Rose Stalker and if that should happen to inspire someone to buy, well then that’s great. I’m not trying to force anyone into reading them, I just like telling people what they’re about.

Book One of The Nightmares Series: Emily must regain her memory of the past before a psychopath kills her and those she loves.

Book One of The Nightmares Series: Emily must regain her memory of the past before a psychopath kills her and those she loves.

Take Nightmares for example: It’s a paranormal/mystery about Emily. She’s eighteen and getting ready to graduate high school when a mysterious voice tells her she must remember her past and accept her gift of clairvoyance  in order to prevent her own demise and others.

The really exciting news, Nightmares will be published sometime between now and Christmas as a paperback. I can’t wait to hold it in my hands!

I was talking the other day to another author who agrees with me, that people get tired of always having someone trying to sell them their books. It gets really annoying when that’s all they talk about.

Everywhere you go, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, it doesn’t matter, there are ads at every click of the mouse. Buy My Book! And whatever you do, don’t give them your email address or you’ll come home to find hundreds of “Buy My Book” emails.

I don’t want to be one of those people. If I can’t think of something else to write about…well then, I’m just not going to blog, and I thought I should explain my reasons.

Say! Did I mention that The Rose Stalker will be released sometime in the spring/summer of 2015? Isn’t that exciting? I don’t have a cover for it yet, but I’ll share it when I do. But don’t worry, I won’t mention “buy my book” even once.

Please leave a comment and make some suggestions about what you would like me to write about. I can use all the help anyone can provide.

 

VISIONS: THE NIGHTMARES SERIES-BOOK TWO

VISIONS book two of THE NIGHTMARES SERIES

The cover for Visions: book two of The Nightmares Series  was created by Charlie (Charlotte) Volnek, a very talented cover artist. The book  is in the process of being edited and published by MuseItUp Publishing, in May or June 2014. I hope! As soon as the book is ready, and all the editing is finished, I will post a short excerpt from it.

For now, I will say that many of the characters from the first book return, plus a few other interesting characters that will cause problems and disrupt life for Emily and Tony. But there will be one who will return and give Emily the forgiveness she’s craved since she was a child and failed to save her best friend.

Here is “Visions” described in one sentence: Emily must help a murdered child and her family find closure and stop a vengeful ghost from destroying innocent lives.

If you haven’t read “Nightmares”, it’s okay, because the books are “stand alone” books. In other words, you can read one and fully enjoy it, without reading the other, but of course I hope you’ll read both!

Also coming in May or June is the paperback copy of “Nightmares” and will be available on MuseItUp’s website and also Amazon. You can still find the Kindle version there also and the Nook version at Barnes and Noble.

Check out my short story “Trapped” on Amazon and published in the anthology “Mystery Times Nine 2012” by Buddhapuss Ink.

I love it when I get comments, so please leave me one and tell me what you think of the cover for “Visions”

NIGHTMARES GIVE AWAY WINNERS!!!!

Emily must accept her gift of clairvoyance and remember her past, when a psychopath returns to kill again.

Emily must accept her gift of clairvoyance and remember her past, when a psychopath returns to kill again.

The giveaway is now closed and the winner on my blog and on Lorraine’s has been chosen.

Drum roll please–and the winner of Donna Jean McDunn’s “Nightmares” giveaway is: Sherri!

And the winner on Lorraine fabulous blog is: Diana Marinova!

Congratulations to both winners and thank you all for joining us.

Find my “Nightmares” and my short story “Trapped” an anthology, Mystery Times Nine 2012 both are found here on Amazon.

Some of my online short stories can be found at these wonderful sights. knowonder! your bedtime story and story time resource – a story a day awaitsStories That LiftNew Bumples Interactive Magazine, Online Magazine for Children.The Pink Chameleon and Page & Spine: fiction showcase – The Front Page.

Please “like” my author page and/or friend me on Facebook.

Profile Page: http://www.facebook.com/mcdunndonnajean

Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/donnajeanmcdunn

And please check out my book Nightmares and Mystery Times Nine 2012 both right here on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=ntt_athr_dp_sr_8?ie=UTF8&field-author=Donna+Jean+McDunn&search-alias=books&text=Donna+Jean+McDunn&sort=relevancerank

ANNOUNCING A GIVEAWAY

Lorraine Reguly

Lorraine Reguly

I met Lorraine Reguly on LinkedIn and discovered her blog. I enjoyed her writing so much I decided to sign up to follow her. Lorraine writes about everything, from very serious and personal life subjects, to topics on writing, social media, blogging and the occasional review and interview.

On one of her posts, (You can find it here) she offered to let anyone include a link of their blog or website in the comments and to be sure to leave a little information about themselves. She encouraged other bloggers to visit these sites. So of course I added my blog and Facebook author page and I mentioned my debut novel, “Nightmares” was published May 8, 2013 by MuseItUp Publishing.

Soon after posting my information on her blog, she contacted me and offered to post a review of my new e-book Nightmares on Goodreads if I sent her a copy.

Of course, I agreed.

A mysterious "voice" warns Emily that she is in danger. She believes she's losing her mind!

As promised she posted this review to Goodreads: “Nightmares” is a well-crafted suspenseful tale that encompasses psychic visions, murderous intent, love, betrayal and acceptance within a captivating storyline. By the third chapter, you’ll be hooked, drawn in by the author to the dilemmas faced by a teenage girl – a young woman – who has a special “gift” of both seeing and hearing things. You’ll join her on her journey of discovery and acceptance while she and her boyfriend match wits with a killer and frequently find themselves in precarious situations. The plot twist will both surprise and satisfy you and leave you wanting more. That is how it was for me – a very good read, indeed!

Hey! She gave it four stars! Not bad for a first book!

The review was great, but she wasn’t done yet, she asked if I would do an interview. Of course I said yes.

If you’re interested in learning more about “Nightmares” and The Nightmares Series, you won’t want to miss the interview on November 1, 2013 on Lorraine’s blog.

It could be your chance to WIN one of two FREE “Nightmares” (The book, not bad dreams) that will be given away to TWO lucky winners.

As I mentioned earlier, “Nightmares” is in e-book format and the two winners will have their choice of PRC=Kindle, e-pub=Nook, PDF=Adobe Reader or HTML=For Web Browser. If you don’t have a Kindle, go to Amazon and get free Apps for your computer, Smart Phone and several other devices. If you don’t have a Nook go here for your free Apps.

This is our way of saying thanks for reading our blogs. All you have to do is post a comment on my blog ON THIS POST and become one of my followers. (If you are already a follower, then you are eligible to win after posting the comment).

If you’d like to double your chances of winning, go to Lorraine’s blog on November 1, 2013 and post a comment after reading the interview and join her followers (If you are already her follower then you are eligible to win, if you’ve posted a comment).

Simple! Right!

The giveaway will run for the first three weeks of November, starting on Friday, November 1, 2013 and ending on Friday, November 29th, 2013. The two winners, one from my site and one from Lorraine’s site, will be chosen randomly using a random generator.

Lorraine and I are both looking forward to seeing you, so please don’t disappoint.

See you then!

Note: We get notifications from WordPress whenever someone follows our blogs via email-not when we gain followers via the WordPress “reader”, so make sure that you click on the button that says: Follow Bog Via and an email will be sent to you. It can be found in the sidebars of our blogs and we will be able to track our new followers and know who is eligible for the prizes!!! Thanks! 🙂

My short story “Trapped” is included in an anthology, Mystery Times Nine 2012 and published by Buddhapuss Ink Publishing on December 6, 2012 and can be found on Amazon. I have had short stories published online at knowonder! your bedtime story and story time resource – a story a day awaitsStories That LiftNew Bumples Interactive Magazine, Online Magazine for Children.The Pink Chameleon and Page & Spine: fiction showcase – The Front Page.

My blog: https://donnajeanmcdunn.wordpress.com/  Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/donnajeanmcdunn Friend me on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mcdunndonnajean.

I can also be found on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Are you excited about winning a free book? Do you like mysteries? Share your thoughts in the comment section!

For additional chances to win, enter your name into the contest by sharing THIS POST on Twitter using the hashtag #NightmaresBookGiveaway. For even more chances, share Lorraine’s post: A Special Featured Friday, Featuring Author Donna Jean McDunn, and A BOOK GIVEAWAY! using the same hashtag! There is no limit on how many “shares” you can earn – so share, share, share! 🙂 (NOTE that the link to this post won’t work until November the 1st)

#NightmaresBookGiveaway

COMING NOVEMBER 1, 2013 A GIVEAWAY!

A mysterious "voice" warns Emily that she is in danger. She believes she's losing her mind!

When a mysterious “voice” warns Emily that she is in danger. She believes she’s losing her mind!

My friend and fellow writer and blogger, Lorraine Ruguly and I are preparing for a free giveaway of two copies of my book “Nightmares” beginning November 1, 2013 and ending November 29, 2013.

This means, for any of you procrastinators out there, you’ll have three weeks, beginning Friday, November 1, 2013, all the way to Friday November 29, 2013, to follow the instructions and possibly win a free copy of “Nightmares“.

So be sure to keep watching for the new posting on my blog on October 31, 2013. It will contain all the information you’ll need to win! And I promise, it will be fun and will not involve any blood or body parts!

Happy Halloween!!!

I’ll be seeing you again on Halloween, October 31, 2013 with the information to win a free copy of “Nightmares”!!!

My short story “Trapped” is included in an anthology, Mystery Times Nine 2012 and published by Buddhapuss Ink Publishing on December 6, 2012 and can be found on Amazon. I have had short stories published online at knowonder! your bedtime story and story time resource – a story a day awaitsStories That LiftNew Bumples Interactive Magazine, Online Magazine for Children.The Pink Chameleon and Page & Spine: fiction showcase – The Front Page.

Follow me on my blog: https://donnajeanmcdunn.wordpress.com/  Like my Facebook Author Page: http://www.facebook.com/donnajeanmcdunn Friend me on my Facebook profile page: http://www.facebook.com/mcdunndonnajean.

Follow me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

So what are your thoughts on a FREE giveaway? Please leave a comment and let me know what you think.

Book Review of “Drago’s Revenge” Book Two of The Blood Chronicles Trilogy

The Trilogy is now available!

The Trilogy is now available!

I finished reading the second book of The Blood Chronicles Trilogy “Drago’s Revenge” by Sb Knight. Just so I’m clear on this, it is not a book for children or anyone who is not a fan of dark fantasy and horror fiction.

Just like it’s predecessor “Born Of Blood”, “Drago’s Revenge” lives up to it’s name. Drago is a vampire and a ruthless killer. He knows what he wants and goes after it, and what he wants is Christian, a newborn baby boy who he believes will give him the perfect eternal life he longs for with powers beyond belief.

The book begins with Drago recruiting some “wanna be” vampires to kidnap the baby and Reba, and to kill Sam. They come to the hospital where Reba has just given birth, thinking it will be a cinch to get the newborn. But they fail to heed Drago’s warning that Sam is a bigger threat than he looks and he is in hot pursuit to stop them.

We also learn a lot more about Sam’s past and meet his brother and childhood friends. One of those old friends isn’t so friendly anymore because of something that happened in the past. I can’t say what it was because I don’t want to give out any spoilers.

Then an unexpected and surprising person shows up as an ally. I can’t say who because again, I don’t want to give any spoilers. You’ll just have to read the book for yourself.

The story kept me reading and wanting to know how in the world they would get out of the mess they always seemed to find themselves in. My only complaint is I thought the fight scenes went on a little too long. I want to emphasize that he wrote them really well. It’s just that I’m not the demographic Mr. Knight was going for. 

Over all, I enjoyed reading “Drago’s Revenge” by Sb Knight. I give it four bloody stars and recommend it to anyone who loves dark fantasy and horror. Again, you will not be disappointed. 

Here’s a link to Mr. Knight’s website where you can find the book and much more.

What genre of books or short stories do you enjoy reading or writing if you’re an author? What was the title of the last book you read? I thought it might be fun to compare our reading lists.

A mysterious "voice" warns Emily that she is in danger. She believes she's losing her mind!

A mysterious “voice” warns Emily that she is in danger. She believes she’s losing her mind!

Don’t forget! My book NIGHTMARES is now available and also my short story TRAPPED is included in the anthology MYSTERY TIMES NINE 2012

NIGHTMARES is also available for the Nook at Barnes and Nobel and can be found at many other places that sell e-books.

When I’m not writing, reading or working my day job, I can also be found on Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads and LinkedIn.

Review of Sb Knights “Born of Blood”

The Trilogy is now available!

The Trilogy is now available!

I finished reading “Born of Blood” by Sb Knight last week. It’s the first book in The Blood Chronicles Trilogy. It’s called a dark fantasy and horror fiction. If this is your genre then you’ll love this book. Mr. Knight delivers it well.

The book is not intended for anyone under the age of 18. This book my not be for you if you are squeamish and brutal acts of blood lust and rape upset you. Reader beware: The title of the book, “Born of Blood” is the perfect description of the contents.

But as mentioned above if this is your genre, you won’t be disappointed. I’m not really into a lot of blood and gore. I like scary and tremble in the dark kind of books. “Born of Blood” delivers the best of both the blood and gore and the tremble in the dark scary. So much so, it actually gave me nightmares, but I had to keep reading to the end and I plan on starting the second book of the trilogy, “Drago’s Revenge” soon. (I had to take a break from all the blood and violence, so I’m reading a romance right now.)

“Born of Blood” begins with Jesse (Jocelyn). She’s young and single, but wants a relationship with a good man. She meets Drake through a dating service and really likes him, but she soon discovers he’s not what he seems.

Her next-door neighbor, Sam is a shy, inexperienced young man, who is too afraid of rejection to approach his beautiful neighbor. He watches her (not in a creepy way) and comes to her aid whenever she needs any help and lives in hope that she may someday notice him.

When a friend of Sam’s goes missing and some of the circumstances point toward Jesse’s new friend, Sam begins to research Drake and his family. What he finds is terrifying and the results puts Sam on a violent road of trying to stay alive long enough to somehow save Jesse from a vicious vampire.

My favorite characters, other than Jesse and Sam are Reba and Charles. Charles is an immortal and Drake brings red headed Reba home as a “pet” for Charles. Reba is an outspoken barmaid with empathy and guts and somehow she cracks Charles’ stone cold demeanor.

The one thing that troubled me about this book was how some of the characters reacted to bad situations. Instead of getting the “heck” out of there, they would dawdle around. I’m sure it was to build tension, sort of like the movie’s where the audience is screaming: “Don’t open that door” or “Run you idiot, run!) but it just didn’t seem realistic to me because if I had been in the same situation, I would have been running. A minor quibble I know and it’s probably just me.

Over all I would give “Born of Blood” by Sb Knight four bloody  stars ****.

Here’s a link to Mr. Knight’s website where you can find the book and much more.

What do you think? Does Sb Knight’s book appeal to you? Do you know anyone who enjoys dark fantasy and horror? Sb was kind enough to offer a PDF file of the first three chapters of each of his books. If anyone is interested or just curious, please leave a message stating that fact and how I may contact you to deliver the file.  No strings attached and no jumping through hoops or entering a contest to receive them. Everyone who requests copies will get one, all you have to do is let me know how to get it to you.

Don’t forget! My book NIGHTMARES is now available and also my short story TRAPPED is included in the anthology MYSTERY TIMES NINE 2012

Also NIGHTMARES is available for the Nook at Barnes and Nobel

A mysterious "voice" warns Emily that she is in danger. She believes she's losing her mind!

A mysterious “voice” warns Emily that she is in danger and must remember her past. She believes she’s losing her mind!

I can be found on Facebook, Twitter, Good Reads and LinkedIn.

RAINBOWS AND DREAMS

0530132000

Is it a promise of a better tomorrow or pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? There’s two of them, so maybe it’s both!

My husband and I were driving home from Omaha a few weeks ago. It had been storming and the weather had been quite scary. Ever since the experience with the lightning strike, I get really nervous when it clouds up. On this particular day, we were driving on Interstate 680 and would soon be crossing the Missouri River and heading home into Iowa and traveling north on Interstate 29. We had another 30 miles to drive to get home.

It was raining, the wind was blowing, the tornado sirens in Omaha were sounding,  and then in the middle of all that, the sun suddenly came out. As soon as I realized why it had gotten so bright, I looked around for the the rainbow. I was surprised how close they seemed and how bright the colors, it was beautiful and I know this is silly, but it filled me with hope.

I brought out my new cell phone (the one I couldn’t remember how to use when I needed to call 911 after the lightning strike). I know how to use it now, well the camera anyway and I took the picture above through the car’s window. It turned out pretty good for an amateur, don’t you think?

A few minutes later and we were now on The Mormon Trail Bridge crossing the Missouri River driving East into Iowa when these rainbows appeared.

Rainbow in the southern sky over the Missouri River on May 30th, 2013.

Rainbows in the southern sky over the Missouri River on May 30th, 2013.

I took pictures of rainbows almost all the way home, but these two were by far the best. Each time I saw a rainbow that night, it reaffirmed my belief that rainbows are a promise that dreams come true. What isn’t promised is that it will happen tomorrow, or next week or even next year or even in our lifetime. Does that mean we’ve failed?

Many painters, authors, musicians and sculptors from the past are remembered today for their art, but many of them also died paupers and were never even recognized for their talents until after their deaths. Does that mean they failed?

Of course not, it means that they worked diligently to achieve a dream and in the end, they did! Nothing in this life is a guarantee except life and death and (according to my husband the cynic) paying taxes.

So what about us? Have we failed or are we working diligently to achieve a dream? What is your dream?

I think those artists of old had it easy compared to today’s crazy busy world. They didn’t have to promote their work. All they had to do was create it.

A mysterious "voice" warns Emily that she is in danger. She believes she's losing her mind!

A mysterious “voice” warns Emily that she is in danger. She believes she’s losing her mind!

Nightmares, my debut young adult, paranormal/mystery novel can be found on my publisher’s website, MuseItUp Publishing, Amazon and Barnes and Nobel.

Check out my short story “Trapped”. It can be found in the anthology Mystery Times Nine 2012 also on Amazon and published by Buddhapuss Ink Publishing.

Friend me on Facebook

Follow me on Twitter

Join me on LinkedIn

NIGHTMARES HAS BEEN RELEASED!

Emily must accept her gift of clairvoyance and remember her past, when a psychopath returns to kill again.

Emily must accept her gift of clairvoyance and remember her past, when a psychopath returns to kill again.

My debut novel Nightmares has been live since May 8, 2013, two days earlier than expected. Whoo hoo! Here is the longer Excerpt I promised:

Chapter One

Emily Preston looked up into her boyfriend Tony’s worried blue eyes and squeezed his hand. “You’ve been frowning at me for a month now. Can’t we just enjoy the prom?”

His frown deepened. “I know something’s wrong. Why won’t you tell me? Is it something I’ve done?”

Emily’s stomach lurched. “No, you haven’t done anything. It’s me.”  She gestured toward the crowded, noisy room. “Look, we can’t talk here. Besides, I thought we were meeting up with Kaylee and Shawn.”

Tony took his gaze off her to look over the crowd of prom goers. “Shawn said he might be a little late…something about Kaylee having a problem.”

Strange, Kaylee never mentioned anything to her. “What kind of problem?”

Tony shrugged. “Don’t know.” He nodded toward the other side of the room. “They’re over there by the prom decorations. Looks like they’re arguing.”

Emily caught a glimpse of Kaylee’s black hair and pink prom dress. The music started and couples began to move to the dance floor, blocking her view of her best friend and Kaylee’s boyfriend, Shawn. Even with the brief glimpse, she thought Tony was right. “So you don’t know why they’re arguing?”

He leaned toward her with a grin. “Nope, but, since they’re busy, we could talk outside?”

He said it to her like a question, as if he wanted her to decide if she wanted to talk. She knew he wouldn’t let it drop until she agreed. Might as well get it over. She forced herself to smile. This was the moment she dreaded from the beginning of their date. What could she say? If she told him everything, he would think she had lost her mind? He guided her to the nearest exit while she fought the urge to run in the opposite direction.

The closer they came to the door, the greater the panic grew inside her. What was frightening her? Not Tony, he made her feel safe. But losing him? Maybe. His choice of a college did freak her out, since it was in another state. She would miss him horribly. Maybe deep down she feared he wouldn’t return. It would explain the feelings of impending doom. Maybe even the nightmares. But it didn’t explain the voice she had started hearing, or the warnings.

Maybe I’m losing my mind.

Outside, Emily shivered. A short, black, strapless prom dress doesn’t offer much protection against the cold wind, no matter how good it looks on you.

Her boyfriend slipped behind her, wrapping her in his arms, blocking the wind. The heat from his body was warming.

“Have I told you how great you look?” he whispered in her ear.

Emily giggled and turned in his arms to look into his blue eyes. “No, why haven’t you?”

His hold tightened and he pulled her closer. “Because I wanted to do this first.” He kissed her.

She grinned. “You clean up pretty good, too. I almost didn’t recognize you without all the grease and oil from that car.”

Tony laughed and reclaimed her hand. “Come on. You’re freezing. Let’s go sit in that car so we can talk.”

Emily giggled. “You know I’d follow you anywhere, but could you slow down a little. These shoes are new and I’m not used to walking in heels.”

Tony dropped her hand and put his arm around her. “Oh, sorry, I forgot”

For the moment, with his arm around her, she felt warm and protected, until she remembered why they had come outside. Tony wanted answers. From the determined look on his face, she knew he wouldn’t settle for anything less. But could he handle the truth? Did she even know the truth?

She remembered having nightmares about a thunderstorm as a child. Her mother had told her scary nightmares were part of childhood. She said they’d go away when Emily got older and they had. So, why terrorize her now, night after night, just like when she was little?

The nightmares were frightening enough, but the voice warning her of danger terrorized her. What she really wanted to do was run away and hide, but she couldn’t, not if Tony was in danger, too.

“Remember your past,” the voice had said, “so you can save Tony and yourself.”

It didn’t make sense. What was she supposed to remember from her past? What was she supposed to save them from, his going off to college? How could Tony and her past be connected?

She could tell him about the nightmares, but anything more, and he’d think she was a paranoid schizophrenic. Maybe he’d be right. What was wrong with her? From her earliest childhood memories, she planned to be a normal girl with ordinary problems. She couldn’t explain anything to Tony; not before she put her life back together.

The lights in the parking lot glistened off Tony’s black 1966 Chevelle Malibu. She didn’t need to ask him if he’d spent the entire afternoon cleaning and polishing it. Of course, he’d say he did it all just for her, but she knew better. Tony practically worshiped everything motorized, but the Malibu was special to him. His dad bought it and planned to restore it with the help of his two young sons, but was killed in a car accident before he had the chance.

Sometimes she wondered if she should be jealous of that old car. Tonight, she was just grateful to get out of the wind.

As Tony opened the driver’s door and Emily bent down to hop in the car, she caught a glimpse of a dark shape next to the bumper. She gasped and clutched Tony’s shirt. Her heart raced and the hair on her arms stood on end.

Tony wrapped his arm around her waist. “What happened? Are you hurt?”

She shook her head. “I thought I saw someone crouched down by your car. They were wearing a hooded sweatshirt.”

Tony looked around. “I don’t see anyone? Are you sure?”

She forced a laugh, pretending it was no big deal. “I think it must have been a shadow. Whatever it was, it’s gone now.”

She slid across the seat, pulling Tony inside with her. Every nerve in her body tightened. Her heart pounded in her ears as she peered into the darkness, trying to get a glimpse of…what? What did she think was out there? Was she being watched?

****

So, there you have the first chapter of Nightmares. It can be found at any of the live links below:

MuseItUp Publishing   Amazon  Barnes & Noble

And don’t forget to leave a comment and tell me what you think.

 

Heroes For When Lightning Strikes

Know the warning signs

Know the warning signs

Sometimes I think this world has gone completely mad. You can’t watch TV without seeing horrible atrocities committed by people against other humans. But then in the same newscast there will often be stories about people coming together and doing some wonderful and even sacrificial things to help others, which in turn, proves that this world isn’t all bad and there are heroes everywhere.

It’s similar to what happens when a personal disaster, one that affects only you and your immediate loved ones. In this case I’m not talking about man against man, but nature against human. That’s when you quickly learn who your heroes are.

I thought I was going to die!

I thought I was going to die! It was Wednesday, April 17, 2013 at 7:17 am

I heard the rumbles of thunder while I was still in the shower and I hurried to finish, worried that the power might go out before I removed all the shampoo from my hair.  (We live in the country and have to depend on electricity to pump water into the house, no power, no water.) I managed to finish showering and drying my hair before it happened.

The whole place shook and the noise was sharp and deafening and I could smell something burning almost immediately. I had no idea what the lightning struck, but I thought it was the house. I put on a bathrobe, picked up my little dog, Annie, who was as terrified as me and looked out the front door. I could see my car beside the house and from the doorway, it looked like the car’s passenger side was on fire. My heart plummeted a my knees almost buckled.

I knew I had to do something, even if it was to just get out of the house, because if my car was burning, then it would explode and the house would go too. Shaking so bad I could hardly walk, wearing only a bathrobe and no shoes, carrying Annie and my cell phone, I ventured outside, feeling guilty because I was leaving my four cats in the house. 

The tree was split from the ground to almost the top!

The tree was split from the ground to almost the top!

It was apparent right away that lightning had struck the large cottonwood tree on the other side of our driveway. The tree was badly split and still smoldering  in spite of the rain. I made my way behind the car and that’s when I saw the flames coming from the driveway. The ground was on fire. The only source it could be coming from was the propane line that ran from the tank,  in front of the tree and into the house.

My first thought was to move my car away from the fire and I started to go back inside to get my keys. I realized there wasn’t time…I had to shut the propane tank off now.

Only one problem, I had no idea how to do it. My husband always did that sort of thing, but I’ve seen enough explosions on TV to know that if I didn’t, it would probably explode either the furnace or the tank or maybe both and I wouldn’t be able to outrun it. Besides, I would be sentencing the four cats inside to a sure death. I had to do something, even if it was wrong.

I opened the lid on the top of the tank and chose the knob that looked like a shut off valve and twisted. The flame made a sucking noise and went out. I held my breath for a few seconds, praying it hadn’t sucked the flame inside the tank or sent it into the furnace. When nothing happened, this gave me hope that I had done the right thing.

I went inside the house and I could still smell something hot. The smell was stronger now. I had to call 911 in case there was a fire inside the walls.

But there was another problem.

In my own defense, I was home alone, my husband had already left for for his job. I was shaking so badly I could hardly stand and my mind would not focus. I still had enough wits about me to know in an emergency seconds count, so I grabbed my cell phone again, but…

I have to explain that I had just gotten a new smart phone about a month or so before. It was the first of it’s type I had ever owned and I had been slowly learning how to use it.

Well, and I know this is going to make it sound like I’m really just nuts, but I couldn’t remember how to make an outgoing call. I’d only done it once before. Everyone I call are in my contacts and I did remember how to get to them, so I pushed contacts, then favorites and hit the first one at the top.

Again, in my own defense, seconds count in an emergency. I still wasn’t sure the house wasn’t on fire because the smell of something burning had grown stronger. I had read of peoples houses smoldering inside the walls before igniting. I couldn’t take the time to explain what was wrong. So when my daughter, who lives forty-five minutes away, answered the phone, I said, “Jamie, call 911 for me”, and I hung up.

I then called my husband, Pat, he’s programmed too and I told him what had happened and that I had called Jamie to call 911.  He works more than 50 miles away and I was worried he’d drive too fast coming home, but he had to know and I needed him at home.

By now I had calmed enough to remember how to use my cell and I called the power company and they said they would be right out.

Because I didn’t tell Jamie why I needed her to call 911, they sent a deputy sheriff who showed up about ten minutes later. As soon as I saw him, I felt better, I was no longer alone, but then I had to confess why I didn’t make the call myself. He was very nice and understanding. He asked me if I wanted him to look around or he said he could send the fire department. I told him about the fire in the driveway and that I had already put the fire out and he laughed. I really wasn’t trying to be funny, but I do see the irony in it now.

It wasn’t long after the deputy arrived that our long time neighbors and friends (they are both retired) drove in. I hadn’t even thought about calling them, but Pat had. The deputy was just about ready to leave by then and that’s when, Jamie and her husband David arrived and of course Jamie chewed me out about how I called her and then hung up. According to her husband, she was almost in as bad a shape as her mother.

Our son-in-law, David brought us a generator to use until we could get the power back on. It worked great.

We had to replace the breaker box inside the house and many of the outlets, which meant we needed an electrification to replace the box. We contacted several, but they were all to busy and then our son-in-law David said he knew someone and he called him. The guy couldn’t come that day, but promised he would be there the next day and he was. By the end of Thursday, one day after the lightning strike, we had electricity again.

We needed to have the furnace checked out and because of the circumstances of a lightning strike, the guy made a special effort to come out right away. The temps were only in the forties during the day.

He had bad new for us. The furnace was completely ruined. He told us if we wanted to get a second opinion, he didn’t mind and when we declined, he said he could be there the next day with a new one.

Our New Furnace

Our New Furnace

How often do contractors actually show up when they say they’re going to? He was a man of his word! He brought everything needed for the repairs. He even brought a trencher, something he doesn’t normally do, to put in the new propane gas line and regulator to the house. By the end of that day, Thursday, only one day after the strike, we had a new working furnace.

The telephone box outside on the opposite end of the house from the lightning strike.

The telephone box outside on the opposite end of the house from the lightning strike. Pieces of it were found in the middle of the yard.

The phone lines throughout most of the house were also melted, which explains what I had smelled burning. The main line from the basement was melted into the carpet in the living room.

The phone company sent someone that day and the guy went out of his way to fix what he could, even doing a few replacements he wasn’t supposed to do, but by the time he left, we again had a land line that worked, only one day after the lightning strike.

The phone line that was melted to the carpet.

The phone line that was melted to the carpet.

In the basement, besides the furnace, the lightning split the water pipes and Pat replaced the pipes Thursday morning.

Our TV in the living room and the DirecTV receiver, were ruined. The satellite on the roof was fine. We had just gotten a new box about a month before, because our old one had quit working. When I called, I explained to the girl what had happened to the new one and she said we were covered under an act of nature clause, which meant it was replaced for free. We didn’t even have to pay the technician that came and installed it on Friday, two days after the lightning strike.

The lightning also destroyed my computer in my office. I’m posting this from my work computer. The good news…my files were backed up.

The cottonwood tree after the lightning strike, was split almost to the top. It creaked and twisted in the wind. It was another disaster waiting for a strong wind to make it happen. The thing had to come down and soon.

Pat, two of his brothers and a brother-in-law spent the weekend taking it down. Not an easy task with a tree that size, while it loomed over the top of our house, but they managed it.

The offending tree is now gone.

The offending tree is now gone.

It has been almost a month since that day and we are almost completely back to normal. Although I will never hear another rumble of thunder and not think about that day and what might have happened if I had still been in the shower when it struck, I am happy to be alive today.

Someone was watching over me that morning and I feel blessed that so many people went out of their way to help us, going above and beyond of what they had to do. They didn’t risk their lives doing it, but they saved ours and for that they are my heroes.

What kind of personal disasters have you faced? Were there heroes who came to your rescue? Tell me about it.

My Young Adult debut novel is now on Amazon: Amazon.com: Donna Jean McDunn Nightmares: Kindle Store

MuseItUp Publishing’s website Nightmares