Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Come on over to my new wordpress home!!

I'm still working on trying to redirect feeds and such, but come on over and see me at my new online home and follow me!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Still having issues

So in attempt to move over to wordpress I'm having tons of issues. Almost wishing I had not started it. Can anyone help me? I have not been able to find a way to move my current layout into a wp theme. I have tried to contact so many people now for help and I am so sick of people not returning emails. Ugh.


Kids celebrate launch of machine washable footwear from pediped®
low rez.jpgHenderson, NV (April 2010) - Kids nationwide are celebrating the launch of pediped® footwear's Spring/Summer 2010 line of
machine washable footwear.  Thanks to this welcomed innovation, they now have the freedom to jump in any puddle that catches their attention, practice their running long jump until it's medal-worthy and slip-slide through the mud on the way home from school.   These machine washable shoes for kids 2-5 years of age will remain looking new as they are super-easy to clean.
Moms and kids (as well as their siblings and classmates) will be relieved to know that this pediped® Flex line extension features DRYZ® technology which resists odor development and helps prevent stinky feet!  DRYZ® insoles wick away moisture to help keep sweaty, little feet dry and comfortable. 
Designed with the active child in mind, this new machine washable collection features a lightweight, sporty construction.  The durable footwear, built to take a beating, includes toe caps, heel caps, breathable webbing and reinforcements throughout.  It also features pediped® footwear's unique Flex Fit System which enables the fit to be customized and/or the duration of wear to be extended up to two months as the child's feet grow.  All in all, this new machine washable line from pediped® footwear is a slam dunk!   Featured styles include Joelle/Joel and Adrian.  This machine washable pediped® line is available now at select retailers and in EU sizes 20-29 (US sizes 5-12.5). At a recommended retail price of $48 USD/pair (MSRP), the shoes are an excellent value.

Kids should also be on the lookout for new Fall/Winter 2010 machine washable shoes from pediped® including Adrian in new color ways as well as new girls' styles.  All pediped® footwear containing DRYZ® technology will be machine washable as of Fall/Winter 2010.  The new Fall/Winter 2010 pediped® collection will be available at retail beginning July 2010.

About pediped®
pediped® footwear was launched in 2004 by Angela and Brian Edgeworth in their quest for the perfect soft-soled shoe for their first daughter. Exceptional quality, unsurpassed comfort and distinctive styling have made the award winning company one of the fastest-growing children's footwear brands in the United States. pediped® footwear is sold in over 3000 stores in the United States and 40 countries worldwide with an offering of more than 120 designs for boys and girls between their two lines, Originals and Flex. Originals (soft-soled shoes for newborns to age 2+) and Flex (rubber-soled shoes for children 1-5 years) are available in EU sizes ranging from 17 to 29. In addition the company's award winning footwear collections pediped® offers a range of accessories including tights and socks and coordinating hair clips.  For more information, visit or call 1-702-567-0311.
*Thanks to Hilary Abbott Communications for providing this information.*

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

FIRST Chapter: A Stranger's Wish by Gayle Roper

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Harvest House Publishers; Original edition (February 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to David P. Bartlett - Print & Internet Publicist - Harvest House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Gayle Roper is the award-winning author of more than forty books and has been a Christy finalist three times. Gayle enjoys speaking at women’s events across the nation and loves sharing the powerful truths of Scripture with humor and practicality. She lives with her husband in southeastern Pennsylvania where Gayle enjoys reading, gardening, and her family.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $10.99
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Harvest House Publishers; Original edition (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0736925864
ISBN-13: 978-0736925860


Monday, April 12, 2010

FIRST Chapter: The Secret Holocaust Diaries

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Tyndale House Publishers (March 4, 2010)
***Special thanks to Vicky Lynch of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***


Nonna Bannister was a young girl when World War II broke into her happy life. She went from an idyllic early-twentieth-century Russian childhood, full of love and comforts, to the life of a prisoner working in labor camps—though she was not a Jew—eventually bereft of her entire family. But she survived the war armed with the faith in God her grandmother taught her and a readiness to start a new life. She immigrated to America, married, and started a family, keeping her past secret from everyone. Though she had carried from Germany the scraps of a diary and various photographs and other memorabilia, she kept it all hidden and would only take it out, years later, to translate and expand her writings. After decades of marriage, Nonna finally shared her secret with her husband . . . and now he is sharing it with the world. Nonna died on August 15, 2004.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (March 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414325479
ISBN-13: 978-1414325477


Saturday, April 10, 2010

She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

My rating: 5 of 5 stars
In the past, you may have read my opinions of Siri Mitchell and seen that I enjoy the writing, but that the story was imperceptibly depressing. I was shocked and appauled with the lack of soul in Constant Heart, A yet the historical elements were incredible and the writing so true. It was in reading Love's Pursuit that each page was not able to turn fast enough and I was truly stumped until the end but still taken aback and frustrated with the circumstances and sadness of the situation. Yet She Walks in Beauty is a delight, a breath of fresh air, and quite the heart titillating beat within a prose of words met by the ear as poetry.

I loved this novel. Each page was another treasure. Every time I had to leave the novel and come back to the story it was as if I were returning to a friend. In years passed I have always wanted to read a tale about the Golden Age in New York City and this novel was not one to disappoint. Yes it had the historical details and some harsh facts which I have come to know Siri's books for. Yet this one has a heart and a soul with tons of personality that laced through the pages and made the next chapter more than just a little something worth coming back for.

Clara Carter is a debutante, and this is her story. It is a suspense, it is a hard life and facts historical, it is a romance, and it is a tragedy. I highly recommend it.

*Thanks to CFBA and Bethany House for providing a copy for review.*

Winner unaccounted for...

So I gave you an extra week and never heard back from the winner of the BabyEtte BabyBasics ring sling, so I will be picking another winner and let person know through email privately!!


What a lucky day! The winner of both An Absence So Great and The Little Prayer of Mine is Nancy! Those extra entries really paid off today!! Congrats! Email me your snail mail address and I'll get these books right out to you.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Date Night Movie

The idea of a date night is so far in my future that I cannot even comprehend it, nor the idea of going out to see a movie. But if I could one that is on my list of to be seen movies is Date Night with Steve Carell and Tina Fey. One, I will forever love and enjoy Tina Fey ever since her Palin impersonations. Then two, I love Steve. He cracks me up.
Check out the trailer.

If you could, go see the movie for me and tell me about it? I'll have to wait until it is available for download or Netflix and even then I have to wait until AppleBlossom is in bed at night... that's how we have date night. *grin* Dinner and a movie, in the living room, with the volume just so and her Sleep Sheep on high. ;)
In “Date Night,” which opens Friday, a bored suburban couple played by Steve Carell and Tina Fey go on their weekly dinner date and find themselves thrown into a night of intrigue: there’s breaking and entering, a car chase, a shootout and a showdown with an underworld boss at a strip club. Husband and wife come out of the adventure with some scratches and also with their ardor renewed.

(For the full New York Times article please visit:
I am forever grateful for comedy. The movie releases to theaters today April 9th, 2010!!

This is a Sponsored Post written by me on behalf of 20th Century Fox. All opinions are 100% mine.

Visit my sponsor: Date Night

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Pediped Shoes

appleblossomreview150 200

It was January when I introduced you to one of our favorite AppleBlossom accessories, the No Slippy Hair Clippy. In that post I also mentioned the collection of Pediped NSHC (hair clips that match shoes!!!). Today I get to rave to you about another favorite accessory that we could not live without (okay maybe we could, but we do not want to!) our Pediped Shoes!! 

Pediped makes shoes from birth to age five in different collections, but the ones that I want to tell you about are the Originals (birth to 2 years) with soft leather soles. These are our favorite shoes so far. We have not been much of a shoe family for AppleBlossom, but when we go out and she might be standing I put shoes on her to protect her feet (plus they're cute and match everything). Now that she is walking with help as well as crawling, whenever we're out the door, the shoes are with us. Though I like some of the other soft soled shoes we have, our Pedipeds are our favorite by far (yet I'll tell you soon about some rubber soled shoes we crave). One of the neatest things about Pediped (that you may have heard me toot already) is that they are very active in charities. I think that is so important in a business and they do not disappoint. They sell more than just shoes and hair clips. There are also tights, socks and their website has a shoe finder feature that will help you search the plethora of fabulous shoes for both boys and girls. 

pediped™ was founded in 2004 by Angela and Brian Edgeworth after searching for a perfect soft sole shoe for their daughter Caroline. The first line was launched in February 2005. Three years later, the company now offers over 85 styles in two lines, Originals (soft-soles, ages 0-2 years) and Flex (rubber-soles, ages 1-5). pediped™ footwear focuses on comfortable, high quality, stylish designs that meet the strict requirements of the APMA (American Podiatric Medical Association). The shoes come in a broad range of styles from sandals and athletic fashions to dress and casual shoes, all designed to address the growing needs of children from birth through age 5. Sold in more than 2500 retail and departments store in the United States and 35 countries around the world, pediped™ shoes have a demonstrated global consumer appeal.

Thanks to Hilary Abbott Communications, AppleBlossom was able to obtain a pair of Chocolate Giselle with Polka Dots Leather Mary Janes. Everywhere we go she gets compliments. Seriously because of the different color dots, they match everything and that is awesome to me. I hardly have to worry about having a million different pairs of shoes that she will grow out of so quickly. Yet at the same time, there are so many different designs that if I did want a million pair of shoes, I could happily do so with Pediped. *wink* 

As far as AppleBlossom's feet, she has been able to wear her 0-6 month size Pedipeds since before she was standing, and since she has been standing they are perfect and she still has a little more room for them to last now at eight months old. They really are soft, and early on AppleBlossom informed us that they pass the taste test, however we try to make that cease as a habit. *grin* The leather is gorgeous for one and really soft. I have no doubts of the protection that her feet are getting and am very happy with the lack of forced structure that will allow her feet to grow. 

Pediped footwear is approved by the American Podiatric Medical Association for contributing to healthy foot development for children. 

Soon we will have to start looking to purchase some shoes the next size up (6-12 mo) and I personally have my eyes on some Abigail - Multi Leather Mary Janes and possibly Addison - pediped graffiti Mary Janes. They're just too cute!

Check out all their new Spring styles!

FIRST Chapter: Asking for Trouble by Sandra Byrd

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Tyndale House Publishers (March 4, 2010)
***Special thanks to Christy Wong of Tyndale House Publishers for sending me a review copy.***


Best-selling author Sandra Byrd has published nearly three dozen books in the Christian market, including her latest series, French Twist, which includes the Christy Award finalist Let Them Eat Cake (WaterBrook Press, 2007) and its sequel, Bon Appétit (WaterBrook Press, 2008). Many of her acclaimed fiction and nonfiction books target the tween and young adult markets. She has also published a book for new moms entitled Heartbeats. Several of Sandra’s shorter works have appeared in periodicals such as Relevant, Clubhouse, Pockets, Decision, and Guideposts. For the past seven years, she has shared her secrets with the many students she mentors through the Christian Writers Guild. Before turning to full-time writing, Sandra was an acquisitions editor in the ABA market. She lives in the Seattle, Washington, area with her husband and two children.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $6.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 272 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers (March 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414325975
ISBN-13: 978-1414325972


I hung back at the doorway to the cafeteria of my new supercool British school, Wexburg Academy. Most of the lunch tables were already packed, and the room was buzzing with chatter. The populars, whom I'd secretly nicknamed the Aristocats, commanded an entire table right in the center of the room. Their good looks and posh accents made up the sun around which all other tables orbited. The normal kids were in the second circle, arranged by friends or clubs or activities. The drama table was on the outer edge of the room, and so were the geeks, the nerds, and the punk wannabes--way out there like Neptune, but still planets. Most everyone had a group. I didn't.

Okay, so there was one table with lots of room. The leftovers table. It might as well have been the dark side of the moon.

No way.

I skipped lunch--again--and headed to the library. One of the computers was available and I logged on, desperately hoping for an e-mail from Seattle.

There was an e-mail from my grandmother reminding me to floss because British dentists only cleaned adult teeth.

Spam from Teen Vogue.

An invitation to join the Prince Harry fan club--​I opened it and gave it a quick scan. I'd consider it more later.

And . . . one from Jen!

I clicked open the e-mail from my best friend at home--well, it had been my home till a couple of months ago--hoping for a lunch full of juicy news served alongside tasty comments about how she missed me and was planning stuff for my next visit home. I craved something that would take me the whole lunch period to read and respond to and remind me that I did have a place somewhere in this universe.

From: Jen
To: Savannah

Hey, Fortune Cookie, so how's it going? Met the Queen yet? LOL. Sorry I haven't written too much. It's been so busy. Samantha took the position you'd been promised on the newspaper staff. She's brand new, but then again you would have been too. It seemed strange without you at first, but I think she'll do okay--maybe even better than okay. And hey, life has changed for everyone, right? Things are crazy busy at school, home, and church. We hang out a lot more now that a bunch of us are driving. Will write again in a few weeks.

Miss you!

A few weeks! My lungs filled with air, and I let it out slowly, deflating like a balloon with a slow leak. I poised my hands over the keyboard to write a response but just . . . couldn't. What would I say? It had already been weeks since we'd last e-mailed. Most of my friends texted instead of e-mailing anyway, but texting across the Atlantic Ocean cost way too much. And the truth was . . .

I'd moved, and they'd moved on.

I logged off the computer and sat there for a minute, blinking back tears. Jen hadn't meant to forget me. I was simply out of her orbit now.

I pretended to read Sugar magazine online, but mostly I was staring at the clock, passing the time till I could respectably head to my next class.

Five minutes before class I swung my book bag onto my shoulder and headed down the hall. Someone was stapling flyers to the wall. “Hi, Hazelle.”

“Hullo, Savannah.” She breezed by me, stapling another pink flyer farther down the wall. We had math class together--oh yeah, maths, as the Brits called it--first period. I'd tried to make friends with her; I'd even asked her if she'd like to sit together in lunch, but she'd crisply informed me that she sat at the table with the other members of the newspaper staff.

She didn't bother with small talk now either, but went on stapling down the hall. I glanced at one of the flyers, and one sentence caught my eye right away: Looking for one experienced journalist to join the newspaper staff.

I yanked the flyer off the wall and jammed it into my bag. I was experienced. Wasn't I?

A nub of doubt rose inside me--the kind that popped up, unwelcome, anytime I tried to rationalize something that wasn't exactly true or right.

This time I swallowed it back. I thought back to Jen's e-mail that kind of felt like a polite dismissal. I lived in London now.

It was time to take matters into my own hands.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

CFBA: She Walks in Beauty by Siri Mitchell

This week, the

Christian Fiction Blog Alliance

is introducing

She Walks in Beauty
Bethany House (April 2010)

Siri Mitchell


Siri Mitchell graduated from the University of Washington with a business degree and worked in various levels of government. As a military spouse, she has lived all over the world, including in Paris and Tokyo. Siri enjoys observing and learning from different cultures. She is fluent in French and loves sushi.

But she is also a member of a strange breed of people called novelists. When they’re listening to a sermon and taking notes, chances are, they’ve just had a great idea for a plot or a dialogue. If they nod in response to a really profound statement, they’re probably thinking, “Yes. Right. That’s exactly what my character needs to hear.” When they edit their manuscripts, they laugh at the funny parts. And cry at the sad parts. Sometimes they even talk to their characters.

Siri wrote 4 books and accumulated 153 rejections before signing with a publisher. In the process, she saw the bottoms of more pints of Ben & Jerry’s than she cares to admit. At various times she has vowed never to write another word again. Ever. She has gone on writing strikes and even stooped to threatening her manuscripts with the shredder.


For a young society woman seeking a favorable marriage, so much depends on her social season debut. Clara Carter has been given one goal: secure the affections of the city's most eligible bachelor.

Debuting means plenty of work--there are corsets to be fitted, dances to master, manners to perfect. Her training soon pays off, however, as celebrity's spotlight turns Clara into a society-page darling.

Yet Clara soon wonders if this is the life she really wants. Especially when she learns her best friend has also set her sights on Franklin De Vries.

When a man appears who seems to love her simply for who she is and gossip backlash turns ugly, Clara realizes it's not just her marriage at stake--the future of her family depends on how she plays the game.

If you would like to read the first chapter of She Walks in Beauty, go HERE.

Bugalug Soother Clips

appleblossomreview150 200

There are just so accessories that are too cute for words and the Bugalug Soother Clips are one of those, but I will try to find words appropriate. Thanks to Erica Pieszak, we were introduced to Bugalug (Stay-Put accessories for the Urban Girl) and am I ever glad to have found them! We have had a pacifier clip that just was not working for us and that was really frustrating. Especially as AppleBlossom is getting stronger with the clip that we had she would suck on the ribbon and it was really thin and would be saturated quickly. Then the velcro that held it together would stop working as it was saturated. Also, she could just put and it would come right off. This was starting to become a real problem and a pointless thing to wear. But not so with the Bugalug Soother Clips!! 

Buglug sent us a Wine Flowers Soother Clip and first off let me tell you how darling this clip is! It is absolutely gorgeous and such great colors. No doubt of matching anything here. *grin* The clip is awesome. You pull forward the little bugalug and the teeth of the clip open up, then you fasten it shut on whatever you're attaching it do and you're ready to go! She pulls and pulls, but it does not slip off! She chew on the ribbon and it does not soak through! The wider ribbon is fabulous and shows off more of the design and I love that. The other thing that I love are the jeweled snaps. They add just the right amount of pretty flair that makes these clips rank even higher on my list. I just all around love them. Bugalug took an item that I was ready to call worthless and showed me just what quality could be. 

This Bugalug Soother Saver is beautifully decorated with an assortment of flowers on a rich burgundy base.  The soother clip is made out of a 1 inch grosgrain ribbon. 

I highly recommend the Bugalug Soother Clips and I am quite certain that their other products would be right along the same par as well! From barrettes, headbands, pony loops, soother clips, belts and other gift ideas they surely have something to please.

Bugalug is proud of their innovative, stylish and fun accessories. With so many styles and products to choose from, your little one will love to express themselves with a Bugalug.
- Best Non-Slip Clip (in Canada)
- Top Quality Products
- Handmade in Canada by Moms
- Exclusive Ribbon Designs
- Non-Toxic & Lead Free

Buy it: The Bugalug Soother Clips are very affordable at $10 and available through their website at or

Twitter @bugalug

FIRST Chapter: Disaster Status by Candace Calvert

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 4, 2010)
***Special thanks to Mavis Sanders of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. for sending me a review copy.***


Candace Calvert is an ER nurse who landed on the "other side of the stethoscope" after the equestrian accident that broke her neck and convinced her that love, laughter—and faith—are the very best medicines of all. The inspirational account of her accident and recovery appears in Chicken Soup for the Nurse's Soul and launched her writing career. The author of a madcap cruise mystery series in the secular market, Candace now eagerly follows her heart to write Christian fiction for Tyndale House. Her new medical drama series, launched with Critical Care in 2009, offers readers a chance to "scrub in" on the exciting world of emergency medicine, along with charismatic characters, pulse-pounding action, tender romance, humor, suspense—and a soul-soothing prescription for hope. Born in northern California and the mother of two, Candace now lives in the Hill Country of Texas.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $12.99
Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers, Inc. (March 4, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1414325444
ISBN-13: 978-1414325446


Fire captain Scott McKenna bolted through the doors of Pacific Mercy ER, his boots thudding and heart pounding as the unconscious child began to stiffen and jerk in his arms. He cradled her close as her small spine arched and her head thumped over and over against his chest. “Need help here. Seizure!”

“This way.” A staff person beckoned. “The code room. Someone page respiratory therapy stat!”

Scott jogged behind a trio of staff in green scrubs to a glassed-in room, laid the child on a gurney, and stepped back, his breath escaping in a rush of relief. He swiped a trickle of sweat from his forehead and tried to catch a glimpse of the girl’s face. He’d swept her up too fast to get a good look at her. Now, with merciful distance, Scott’s heart tugged. Six or seven years old with long black braids, frilly clusters of hair ribbons, little hoop earrings, she looked disturbingly pale despite her olive skin. Her dark eyes rolled upward, unfocused, as the ER team closed in to suction her airway, start oxygen, and cut away her flowered top and pants.

The alarms of the cardiac monitor beeped as a technician attached gelled electrodes to her tiny chest. Thankfully, the seizure ended, although saliva—foamy as a salted garden snail—still bubbled from her parted lips.

Scott inhaled slowly, the air a sour mix of illness, germicidal soap, and anxious perspiration. He thought of his nephew, Cody, lying in a pediatrics bed two floors above.

The ER physician, a vaguely familiar woman, gestured to a nurse. “Get an IV and pull me some labs. I’ll need a quick glucose check and a rectal temp. Let’s keep lorazepam handy in case she starts up again. What’s her O2 saturation?”

“It’s 98 percent on the non-rebreather mask, Dr. Stathos.”

Leigh Stathos. Golden Gate Mercy Hospital. Scott nodded, recognizing her—and the irony. She left San Francisco. I’ve applied for a job there . . . and everywhere else.

“Good. Now let’s see if I can get a medic report.” Dr. Stathos whirled to face Scott, her expression indicating she was trying to place him as well. Her gaze flickered to his badge. “Oh yes. McKenna. Didn’t recognize you for a second there. So what’s the history? And where’s the rest of your crew? Are they sending you guys out solo now?”

“No. But no crew. And no report. I was here as a visitor, until some guy waved me down in the parking lot. I took one look at this girl and decided to scoop and run.” Scott nodded toward a woman crying near the doorway. “That could be family. They were in the truck with her.”

“Seizure history?”

“Don’t know. My Spanish isn’t the best. I think they said ‘sick’ and ‘vomiting,’ but—”

One of the nurses called out for the doctor. “She’s starting to twitch again. IV’s in, and the blood glucose is good at 84. No fever. How much lorazepam are you going to want? She weighs about 20 kilos.”

Dr. Stathos moved back to the gurney. “We’ll start with one milligram slowly. But let me get a look at her first, listen to her lungs, and check her eyes.” She looked up as a blonde nurse appeared in the doorway. “Yes, Sandy?”

“Sorry, Doctor. I couldn’t get much, but her name’s Ana Galvez. Six years old. No meds, no allergies, and no prior seizure history. I think. There’s a language barrier, and I don’t have an official interpreter yet. But thought you should know I’ve got a dozen more people signing in for triage, all with gastric complaints and headaches. The parking lot’s full of farm trucks, and—” She stopped as the child began a second full-blown seizure.

Two respiratory therapists rushed through the doorway.

Scott tensed. A dozen more patients? Then his Spanish was good enough to have understood one last thing the terrified family had said before he took off running with their child: “Hay muchos más enfermos”—There are many more sick people.

He glanced back at the child convulsing on the gurney. What was going on?


Muscle it. Punch through it. Control it. Be bigger than the bag.

Erin Quinn’s fist connected in one last spectacular, round-winning right hook, slamming the vinyl speed bag against the adjacent wall. And causing a tsunami in her grandmother’s goldfish tank. Water sluiced over the side.

“Whoa! Hang on, buddy. I’ve got you.” She dropped to her knees, steadying the tank with her red leather gloves. Everything she’d done in the last six months was focused on keeping Iris Quinn safe, secure, and happy, and now she’d nearly KO’d the woman’s only pet.

Erin watched the bug-eyed goldfish’s attempts to ride out the wave action. She knew exactly how he felt. Her own situation was equally unsettling: thirty-one and living with her grandmother and a geriatric goldfish named Elmer Fudd in a five-hundred-square-foot beach house. With two mortgages and a stubborn case of shower mold. She caught a whiff of her latest futile bout with bleach and grimaced.

But moving back to Pacific Point was the best option for her widowed grandmother, emotionally as well as financially. Erin was convinced of that, even if her grandmother was still skeptical . . . and the rest of the family dead set against it. Regardless, Erin was determined to put the feisty spark back in Nana’s eyes, and she had found the change surprisingly good for herself as well. After last year’s frustrating heartaches, being back in a house filled with warm memories felt a lot like coming home. She needed that more than she’d known.

Erin tugged at a long strand of her coppery hair and smiled. The fact that her grandmother was down at the chamber of commerce to inquire about volunteer work was proof they were finally on the right track. Meanwhile, she had the entire day off from the hospital. March sunshine; capris instead of nursing scrubs; time to catch up with her online course work, jog on the beach, and dawdle at the fish market with her grandmother.

She turned at the sound of her cell phone’s Rocky theme ring tone, then struggled, teeth against laces, to remove a glove in time to answer.

She grabbed the phone and immediately wished she hadn’t. The caller display read Pacific Mercy ER. “Yes?”

“Ah, great. We caught you.”

“Not really,” Erin said, recognizing the relief charge nurse’s voice and glancing hopefully toward the door. “In fact, I was just heading out.”

“Dr. Stathos said she’s sorry, but she needs you here. Stat. We’ve got kind of a mess.”

Mess? Erin’s breath escaped like a punctured balloon. In the ER, a mess could mean anything. All of it bad. She’d heard the TV news reports of a single-engine plane crash early this morning, but the pilot had been pronounced dead on the scene, and there were no other victims. The hospital shouldn’t be affected. Then . . . “What’s going on?”

“Eighteen sick farm workers,” the nurse explained, raising her voice over a cacophony of background noise. “Maybe a few more now; they keep coming in. We’re running out of gurneys, even in the hallway.”

“Sick with what?” Erin asked. The sheer number of patients qualified as a multicasualty disaster, but only if it were a motor vehicle accident, an explosion, or a similar tragedy.

“Dr. Stathos isn’t sure. But she’s thinking maybe food poisoning. They’re all from the same ranch. Everyone’s vomiting, and—”

“It’s a real mess,” Erin finished, sighing. “I got that part. But how come the ambulances are bringing them all to us? Dispatch should be sending some to Monterey.”

“They’re not in ambulances. They’re arriving in work vehicles. A couple of guys were even sprawled out on a flatbed truck. They’re lucky no one rolled onto the highway. The police are at the ranch investigating, but meanwhile we’re overwhelmed. And of course the media got wind of it, so now we have reporters showing up. You know how aggressive they get. I’m sorry, but I feel like I’m in over my head with this whole thing.”

The nurse was new at taking charge, and Erin remembered how scary that felt when things went south in the ER. Monday shifts were usually fairly tame, but this sounded like . . . “Tell the nursing supervisor I’m on my way in and that we’ll probably need to go on disaster status and . . . Hold on a second, would you?” She yanked off her other glove and strode, phone to her ear, toward the miniscule closet she shared with her grandmother. “Close the clinic and use that for overflow. Get security down there to help control things, the chaplain too. And see if the fire department can spare us some manpower.”

Erin pulled a set of camouflage-print scrubs from a hanger, then began peeling off her bike shorts with one hand. “I’ll get there as soon as I can. Just need to take a quick shower and leave my grandmother a note.” And kiss my free day good-bye?

No, she wasn’t going to think that way. As a full-time charge nurse, the welfare of the ER staff was a huge priority. Besides, Leigh Stathos wouldn’t haul her in on her day off if it weren’t important. Erin had dealt with far worse things. Like that explosion at the day care center near Sierra Mercy Hospital last year. In comparison, food poisoning wasn’t such a big deal, even two dozen cases. Messy, yes. Life-altering, no. Central service would find more basins, she’d help start a few IVs, they’d give nausea meds and plenty of TLC, and they’d get it all under control.

“No problemo,” she murmured as she hung up, then realized the inarticulate phrase was pretty much the extent of her Spanish. She made a mental note to be sure they had enough interpreters. Interpreters, basins, more manpower, and a full measure of TLC to patients—and her staff. That should do it.

Ten minutes later she snagged an apple for the road, wrote Nana a note, and stowed her boxing gloves on the rack beneath the TV. She wouldn’t need battle gear for this extra stint in the ER. And then she’d be back home. In a couple of hours, tops.


When Erin turned in to the hospital parking lot, she realized she’d forgotten her name badge. Good thing security knew her. Her eyes widened as she approached the ambulance entrance. She braked to a stop, her mouth dropping open as she surveyed the scene at the emergency department’s back doors: four dusty and battered trucks—one indeed a flatbed—at least three news vans, a fire truck, an ambulance, and several police cars. She quickly put the Subaru in park, then opened her door and squinted up at the sky. Oh, c’mon, was that a helicopter? A plane crash wasn’t big enough news today?

Several nurses stood outside the doors holding clipboards and dispensing yellow plastic emesis basins to a restless line of a least a dozen patients in long sleeves, heavy trousers, and work boots. Including one elderly man who seemed unsteady on his feet as he mopped his forehead with a faded bandanna. A young uniformed firefighter paramedic, the husband of their ER triage nurse, was also helping out. Good, Erin’s request for extra manpower had been accepted.

Reporters in crisp khakis and well-cut jackets leaned across what appeared to be a hastily erected rope-and-sawhorse barricade. It was manned by a firefighter in a smoke-stained turnout jacket with the broadest shoulders she’d ever seen. And an expression as stony as Rushmore.

Erin locked the car, grabbed her tote bag, and jogged into the wind toward the barricade, trying to place the daunting firefighter. Tall, with close-cropped blond hair, a sturdy jaw, and a rugged profile. He turned, arms crossed, to talk with someone across the barricade, so she couldn’t see all of his face. But he wasn’t a full-time medic; she knew them all. An engine company volunteer? Maybe, but she hadn’t met him. She was sure of that. Because, even from what little she’d seen, this man would have been memorable. Her face warmed ridiculously as she slowed to a walk.

But her growing curiosity about his identity was a moot point. There wasn’t time for that now. She needed to slip between those sawhorses, hustle into the ER, touch base with the relief charge nurse, brainstorm with Leigh Stathos, and see what she could do to help straighten out this mess.

Erin stopped short as the big firefighter turned abruptly, blocking her way. “Excuse me,” she said, sweeping wind-tossed hair from her face as she peered up at him. Gray. His eyes were granite gray. “I need to get past you. Thanks. Appreciate it.” She attempted to squeeze by him, catching a faint whiff of citrusy cologne . . . mixed with smoke.

“Don’t thank me. And stop right where you are.” He stepped in front of her, halting her in her tracks. There was the slightest twitch at the corner of his mouth. Not a smile. He crossed his arms again. “No one can come through here. Those are the rules. And I go by the book. Sorry.”

By the book? As if she didn’t have policies to follow? Erin forced herself to take a deep breath. Lord, show me the humor in this. Called to work on her day off and then denied access. It was funny if you thought about it. She tried to smile and managed a pinched grimace. This was about as funny as the mold in her shower. She met his gaze, noticing that he had a small scar just below his lower lip. Probably from somebody’s fist.

“I work here, Captain . . . McKenna,” Erin explained, reading the name stenciled on his jacket. “In fact—” she patted the left breast pocket of her scrubs, then remembered her missing name badge—“I’m the day-shift charge nurse. But I forgot my badge.”

“I see,” he said, uncrossing his arms. He pointed toward the trio of reporters leaning over the barricade. “See that reporter over there—the tall woman with the microphone and bag of Doritos? Ten minutes ago she pulled a white coat out of one of those news vans and tried to tell me she was a doctor on her way to an emergency delivery. Premature twins.”

“But that’s unbelievable. That’s—”

“Exactly why I’m standing here,” the captain interrupted. “So without hospital ID or someone to corroborate, I can’t let you in.”

Her jaw tightened, and she glanced toward the ER doors. “One of your paramedics is back there somewhere; Chuck knows me. He’s married to my triage nurse. Find him and ask him.”

McKenna shook his head. “Can’t leave this spot.”

“Then call.” Erin pointed to the cell phone on his belt. “Better yet, ask for Dr. Leigh Stathos. Tell her I’m here. She’ll verify my identity. The number is—”

“I’ve got it,” he said, lifting his phone and watching her intently as he made an inquiry. He gave a short laugh. “Yes. A redhead in what looks like Army fatigues . . . Ah, let’s see . . . green eyes. And about—” his gaze moved discreetly over her—“maybe five foot nine?”

Erin narrowed her eyes. What was this, a lineup?

The captain lowered the phone. “Your name?”

“Erin Quinn,” she said, feeling like she should extend her hand or something. She resisted the impulse.

“Hmm. Yes,” he said into the phone. “I see. Okay, then.” He cleared his throat and disconnected the call.

She looked at him. “Did you get what you needed?”

“Well,” he said, reaching down to detach the rope from a sawhorse, “it seems you’re who you say you are. And that I shouldn’t expect a commendation for detaining you. Apparently it’s because of your request that I’m here. Not that I wanted to be. I still have men out on the plane crash, but . . .” He hesitated and then flashed the barest of smiles. Though fleeting, it transformed his face from Rushmore cold to almost human. “Go on inside, Erin Quinn. You’re late.” His expression returned to chiseled stone. “And for what it’s worth, I’m sorry. But that’s the way this has to work.”

“No problemo.” Erin hitched her tote bag over her shoulder and stepped through the barricade. Then she turned back. “What’s your first name, McKenna?”


She extended her hand and was surprised by the warmth of his. “Well, then. Good job, Scott. But going by the book isn’t always the bottom line. Try to develop a little trust, will you? We’re all on the same team.”

Twenty minutes later, Erin finished checking on her staff and rejoined Leigh Stathos in the code room. They both looked up as the housekeeping tech arrived at the doorway.

“You wanted these?” Sarge asked.

“Yes. Great. Thank you.” Erin nodded at the tall, fortysomething man wearing tan scrubs, his brown hair pulled back into a short ponytail and arms full of plastic emesis basins. “Put those in the utility room, would you? And I think we could use some extra sheets and gowns too. If you don’t mind.”

His intense eyes met hers for an instant before glancing down. “Yes, ma’am, double time.”

Erin smiled at Sarge’s familiar and somber half salute, then watched him march away, his powerful frame moving in an awkward hitch to accommodate his artificial leg. She returned her attention to Leigh and the dark-eyed child on the gurney beside them. The ventilator, overriding her natural breathing, whooshed at regular intervals, filling the girl’s lungs. “She had two seizures but none before today?”

“Looks that way.” The ER physician, her long mahogany hair swept back loosely into a clip, reached down and lifted the sheet covering the child. “But see how her muscles are still twitchy? And her pupils are constricted. I’ll be honest: I don’t like this. The only thing I know for sure is that the X-ray shows an aspiration pneumonia. Probably choked while vomiting on the truck ride in. I’ve started antibiotics. Art’s coming in,” she added, referring to the on-call pediatrician. “And I paged the public health officer.”

“Good.” Erin’s brows scrunched. It was puzzling; an hour after arrival, Ana Galvez remained unresponsive, her skin glistening with perspiration. Though Leigh had inserted an endotracheal tube and the child was suctioned frequently, she was still producing large amounts of saliva. Her heart rate, barely 70, was surprisingly slow for her age. She’d had several episodes of diarrhea. Poor kid. What happened to you?

Erin glanced toward the main room of the ER, grateful things appeared to be settling down out there. “I still don’t get this, though. Ana came from home? Not the ranch where everybody got sick?”

“Yes, but—” Leigh fiddled with the stethoscope draped across the shoulders of her steel gray scrub top—“she’d been there earlier. Felt sick after lunch and her father took her home.”

“So that goes right back to the food. But salmonella takes time. Still, the symptoms fit. Triage says most of the patients are complaining of headache, nausea, cramps, and diarrhea.” Erin checked the monitor: heart rate 58. Why so slow? “What did they eat?”

Leigh sighed. “Sack lunches. Every one different. That doesn’t fit at all. I wanted it to be huge tubs of chicken stew that everyone shared. That would make sense. But Sandy’s seen twenty-six patients in triage now, and the story from everybody sounds the same: picking strawberries since 6 a.m., lunch together around eleven, and—”

“I’m sorry to interrupt, but something’s . . . wrong.” Erin and Leigh turned at the sound of the triage nurse’s voice at the doorway.

Erin’s eyes widened. The triage nurse looked awful—pale, sweaty, teary-eyed. Sandy was holding her hand to her head, trembling. What happened?

Before she could ask, Sandy’s eyelids fluttered and her knees gave way.

Blog Archive