The Power and the Light!

Charlene-with-BooksWhen we think of the old west, we think of stagecoaches and sheriffs and landowners and cattle. We think of railroaders and Native American Indians and farmers.  Some of the natural disasters that affected the settlers were droughts and tornadoes and severe thunderstorms and floods.  But the one thing we don’t think about is black-outs or power outages.  The men and women of the west didn’t have to worry if a power grid went down.  They had no power grids.

In fact, it wasn’t until Thomas Ediston invented a viable electric light bulb in 1879 did some fortunate people actually have electrical power.  By the end of the 1880’s electrical stations were developed to provide power for city residents, but the service was limited to only a few city blocks.

It is estimated that by 1930, only 10% of the rural population in the U.S had electrical power.Thomas Edisonthomas edison

How far we have come.

Now, one of our biggest fears is that entire cities could be involved in a power outage.  Power
grids do go down occasionally.  One of the biggest black-outs in United States history happened in 1965 near Niagara Falls.  In a domino effect, soon the entire city of New York was in the dark.  At the height of rushhour, on a Tuesday night, the city was in chaos.  It is estimated that 800,000 people were trapped inside the subway. Can you imagine?

Well, I did.  Although, I’ve never been in a black-out, (the closest I’ve come was being trapped in an elevator with 2 co-workers for 45 minutes)  I started thinking about what would happen if two of my main characters were victims of a black-out situation.  And thus, my new release, One Secret Night, One Secret Baby, was, uh, born.


One Secret Night, One Secret Baby

Have you ever been in a blackout or been in any sort of power outage?  If not, yay!  What would frighten you the most if you were ever in one?  And read on to see how one Los Angeles power outage affected my hero and heroine Dylan McKay and Emma Bloom.


An unforgettable baby dilemma. Only from USA TODAY bestselling author Charlene Sands. 

During a city-wide power outage, Emma Bloom turns to her old friend Dylan McKay for help. The Hollywood heartthrob comes to her rescue, action-hero style, and sees her safely home. But what happened next? The details are blurry—because Emma was tipsy, and an on-set accident leaves Dylan’s memory of that night in tatters.

But soon irrefutable evidence surfaces: Emma is pregnant. It’s hard enough sharing her secret with a man used to fending off scheming women. But Dylan does the right thing and proposes. And then, one day, his memory returns…

Post a comment here and be included in my Super Sweet Valentine’s Giveaway!!  Your name will go into a drawing I’m holding on my new blog right now! Commenting there as well, doubles your chances.  Prizes include  my 3 -in- 1 Napa Valley Vows series, a DVD, Love and Sunshine lotion and Hershey’s Sweet Messages chocolates.  Winner will be announced HERE, FB and on my BLOG on Sunday, so be sure to stop back.  Happy Sweethearts Day!  (Drawing guidelines are posted in the sidebar)

Valentine's Day


Happy Reading everyone!

One Secret Night, One Secret Baby

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28 thoughts on “The Power and the Light!”

  1. We have been through many power outages. As a matter of fact, the New York outage of 1965 is most memorable. We had a house full of people and were having a birthday party for my mother when the lights went out. We weren’t prepared for it and neither were very many others. We have had other power outages since, some lasting a few hours and several lasting from a day or two to a week. When we built our house in Colorado and in our house now here in TN, we made sure we had a wood stove with a cooking surface. We can heat the house and fix our food. Fireplaces are more of a heat drain than a good heating source. (that is all we had in our house in NY when I was a child.) We have both candles and oil lamps. The lamps give much better light, but both are fire hazards, so we need to be careful. We hope the weather is cold enough to keep the food from thawing and spoiling. The biggest inconvenience would be if we lost water, which did happen once. If we were on a well, we would make sure we had the option to pump by hand.
    I can’t say anything frightened us. A big concern now is that so many phone services rely on electricity, unlike the old land lines. I do have a solar charger, so I could keep our cell phones charged if that service was working. We have a crank weather radio which also picks up regular stations. During one outage many years ago, we even watched TV on a 6in screen battery operated TV. I am not even sure where it is now. A bonus of my antique love is the old victrola and stash of records. Wind it up and listen to the music. It would actually be a pleasant time until I had to do laundry. I have washboards, but don’t have any desire to have to use them again.
    Realistically, since I am now a Red Cross Disaster Volunteer, I wouldn’t be enjoying myself at home, I would be working in a shelter. An since most have generators, I wouldn’t be missing electricity much anyway. Sorry I rambled on so long, but our society relies on electricity so much. They don’t realize you can actually function quite well without it if you have to.

    • Hi Patricia,
      Wow… you have had some amazing experiences. And you’ve been resourceful in making sure you’re not vulnerable to them by preparing. Very smart of you to have a solar charger and keep a land line. We too have one as well, for emergencies. It’s wonderful that you are a Red Cross volunteer too and I agree, we have become too dependent on electricity and devices!

  2. I have been in a couple of longer term outages. The first was after a tornado came within a 1/2 mile of our home. It was on the ground for 21 miles and killed 2 people in our city. This happened in 1992 on August 29th. It didn’t receive a lot of publicity because it happened the same day as Hurricane Andrew devastated Homestead, FL. Luckily, it happened in the summer in Wisconsin so the weather wasn’t cold. We have a fireplace too. We cooked on our Coleman camp stove. We used bottled water. We went to bed early. Luckily it was during daylight savings time. We live on a small lake so we used lake water to flush our toilets. We were without power for 3 days.

    The second time was after Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne in September 2004. The eye of the hurricanes passed directly south of our condo and the second one just north of our building. The roof came off the back half of our building. We had to move to my mom’s condo after the first hurricane. The second one we were without power for over 24 hours. Luckily we had supplies to eat and water from the pool to flush our toilets.

    Scary times.

    I couldn’t imagine being trapped in a subway or in an elevator. It would be dark and hot. Since I’m claustrophobic it would my worst nightmare. I don’t go into elevators if I can help it.

    Thanks for your giveaway. I’d like to read Emma and Dylan’s blackout story and the rest of the NAPA VALLEY- WINES series. I love chocolate and I haven’t watched SILVER LININGS PLAYBOOK yet.

    Happy Valentine’s Day!

    • Hi Laurie G,
      Oh boy, you’ve had some scary experiences with black outs, that for sure. To have half your roof come off, must have been so frightening. I can’t imagine. Since we live in earthquake country, we always have water and canned food and keep a land line in case of emergencies. Thanks for sharing your experiences.

  3. We have had power outages here as well. They are never fun. Of course none of ours lasted too long where you really go crazy. The most memorable one was in the middle of the summer at night. It got so hot in the house we ended up getting outside and just walking around. It seemed a lot of other people did the same and we ended up meeting neighborhood people that we didn’t know. Everyone was just talking to each other. It was kind of nice. Of course this was before the neighborhood got bad. Now if it happened, I think I would just stay inside to make sure no one broke in the house to steal stuff. They have also done rolling blackouts in the summers, but we have been lucky not to have it in this neighborhood as we are on the same power grid as the new hospital that they just built along the side of our neighborhood.

    • Hi Janine,
      Oh, I hear you about the hot nights with no relief and getting out of bed and walking around. We did that when we had the big earthquake. Everyone ended up outside their homes, and we met our new neighbors and bonded from that day forward. Good thing you are on a power grid that won’t be used in a rolling outage. It feels so weird when the lights and all other things so down, doesn’t it?

  4. We have never had any serious power outages. We have always had options nearby to help us out. I know we need to stock up our emergency stash, though. Always have bottled water or food in abundance for such a time.

  5. Hi Charlene, congratulations on your new release! As always, it sounds delightful.

    The only power outages I’ve experienced were short ones. However, no one will go into elevators with me. That’s because I’ve been stuck several times–once for several hours after visiting a dentist. I was once stuck in an elevator at UCLA with a Japanese exchange student who spoke little English. I kept pushing the red button and he kept bowing. Firemen finally got the doors open but since we were between floors we had to climb out of a small opening and down a ladder.

    • Hi Margaret,
      You made me laugh early this morning with your UCLA story! I was stuck in an elevator in a hospital too. We were between floors and it was pre-cell phone days. The elevator phone was out of service. It was late at night and we were pounding on the doors hoping someone would hear us. Luckily, we were all friends. The ladies cleaned out their purses, and then we played Truth or Dare. *this was quite a while ago* Rescued after 45 minutes.

  6. Hi Charlene! Congratulations on your new release! It sounds intriguing. I’m wondering what happens when your hero’s memory returns…

    Power outages have been few and far between for me (knock on wood)and with my kids around, we always treated it like a big adventure–getting out the candles and flashlights. Usually it has been due to a squirrel messing with one of the transformers in our neighborhood and they have always been fixed within a few hours. I shudder to think of one lasting more than a day. And to be stuck in a subway would terrify me–and I am NOT claustrophobic!

    BTW — love the look of your new website! It is so “you.” Really fits your personality and the personality of your stories.

    • Hi Kathyrn
      Thanks so much for sharing your adventures. I agree, if it’s not due to something serious, it can be fun for the kids! Thanks for your kind words about my website too. We worked hard on getting it just right!

  7. I think 2 or 3 days in the middle of winter has been the worse for me. At least I didn’t have to worry about food going bad like I did when it happened in the summer but we did have to keep bundled up. I always love the fact that it’s an excuse to read (and play games when the kids were around). My husband had it happen when he was a teenager in an apartment bldg. in NYC. That would be a lot more harrowing.

    • Hi Catslady,
      Wow, 3 days? I would imagine you’d have to stock up on food and water. And yes, when our power went out for a few hours, it was a great excuse to read and play and visit with neighbors.

  8. In August of 2003, Ontario, Quebec and parts of the US had a major outage. Some people were without power for up to a week. I was lucky, the grid I was on, we had power back in a couple of days. But I live in a basement apartment and thank god for my big picture window in the kitchen I could read by the light through the window. But then when it became dark I was glad I had candles and a flash light.

  9. I have been through a few power outages… had plenty of supplies at home to deal… light up some candles, lamps… have flashlights, little portable grill, etc. Lost a whole freezer of food items once though…

  10. Oh my goodness. You just took me back to the cafeteria where I worked in college. We had just started serving dinner when the power went out. The hot foods were on steam counters and there were battery powered emergency lights so we kept serving. This was before computerized cash registers so we could still accept payment. The rumors we heard! At first we thought it was just Ithaca and then we heard Buffalo, too. Before long we heard NYC was also out. It was only off for a few hours but even then there were fears of what we now label terrorism—The Russians are coming Was one of the rumors.

  11. oh my those power outages. We have had a few and the best place is cuddled up in bed in winter when the furnace is out.
    I’ve been trapped in an elevator with my bff in Vegas for a small amount of time but it seemed ages.

  12. A couple of years ago, we had that major outage that lasted over 24 hours in San Diego. At first all of us just thought it was a rolling blackout. I was with a patient taking an x-ray, when it became apparent that the lights were not coming back on, the patient left and I went out to help with other patients, we were doing manual blood pressures and seeing patients with flashlights in the rooms. Once we got notice that it was a serious cut in a line somewhere in AZ that had caused it, we all set out to get home. Unfortunately, that took a long time without any traffic lights working. People were abandoning their cars if they ran out of gas, because the pumps were not working. It was an interesting night trying to read by candlelight and listening to the battery operated radio. It made me and my family realize just how much we depend on electricity.

    • Hi Kimberlyindy
      Well, from age and experience I’ve learned to always keep my gas tank full. When it gets halfway, I treat it like it’s empty and refill. We’ve had some close calls when we thanked heaven we had gas in our cars. I have to get a battery operated radio,though. That’s a good thing to have in a crisis. Thanks for sharing today!

  13. We were without power for a few days once and after that my husband bought a generator. A couple of years ago we were without power again but our trusty generator did the trick. We take it all for granted until we are without it.

  14. A few years back we had an ice storm that left us without power for several days. It was really bad for us because we didn’t have heat for a couple of day and finaly borrowed a karosene heater for some heat. I think we all about went crazy without our computers. You really learn to appreciate electricy after being without it for a while.

  15. Most power outages in our part of the country are winter ones. Heavy wet snow and high winds will take out power lines. In the early years of our marriage we burned wood for heat so were still kind of warm but because the fan would not work it was warmest near the vents so we would gather there. We also had propane to cook with so other than being in the dark it wasn’t so bad. Neighbors would often gather at our home if they could get there and we would play games. But these later years we heat and cook with electricity so keeping warm is much more difficult!

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