Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Beat the Winter Blues Tour - Today's Stop.

Good morning from a grey and damp and non-blizzardy England. Today our guests talk about what to do in a blizzard. So without further adieu...

Things to do in a Blizzard – Blaine D. Arden.

I'd like to start with things do to before a Blizzard. Being prepared is a large part of how successful our Blizzard-night-in will be.
- Keep a generous stock of food and drink. Don't go wild on the beer, leave some room for bottled water. And, remember, canned is better than frozen, but only if you remember to buy a NON-electrical can opener.
- Keep every rechargeable item you own charged. Don't bother with the robotic hoover, using a broom will keep you a lot warmer during a power-out, and don't forget the gameboys if you want to keep the kids happy. (using the term kids very loosely here)
- Check your flashlight(s) for batteries and keep extra batteries nearby. Keep flashlights in places you can easily reach in the dark. The basement may seem like a good place, but don't call me when you end up at the bottom of the stairs with a broken leg
- Stock up on candles, matches, and wood if you have a fireplace. Splurging on candle-holders is not a luxury, unless you don't mind spending days de-waxing every possible surface in the house
- Do you have enough fleece plaids, socks and thermal underwear? If not, go shopping, now! I know those snuggies look ridiculous, but you won't be laughing when it starts freezing and you don't have one.
- Keep a shovel in the house. Yes, IN the house, not in that shed at the back of the garden. Trust me, you'll look foolish trying to dig your way over there with your bare hands.
- For a more naughty Blizzard-night-in: don't forget to stock up on lube, condoms and a variety of preferred play items :)

Well, I think that concludes the preparations. Unless you think of something else, of course. Better to be safe, than sorry.

Blaine D. Arden is a purple haired, forty-something writer of gay romance with a love of men, music, mystery, magic, fairies (the pointy eared ones), platform shoes, and the colors black, purple, and red, who sings her way through life. Born and raised in Zutphen, the Netherlands, Blaine spent many hours of her sheltered youth reading, day dreaming, making up stories, and acting them out with her Barbies. When not writing, reading, or at choir practice, Blaine has singing lessons and hopes to be in a band someday. Blaine can be found at:

Andrew Grey:

During a blizzard I invariably retreat into the house and spend the day doing absolutely nothing. I love to hear the wind whistle around the house knowing I’m inside where it’s warm and I don’t have to do anything in particular or go anywhere. The last blizzard we had, Dominic and I watched it snow form our kitchen windows and then he made hot apple cider and we curled together on the sofa in front of the television. Of course, the blizzard didn’t last that long and I had to go to work the following day, but it was definitely nice while it lasted.

Andrew Grey grew up in western Michigan with a father who loved to tell stories and a mother who loved to read them. Since then he has lived throughout the country and traveled throughout the world. He has a master’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and works in information systems for a large corporation. Andrew's hobbies include collecting antiques, gardening, and leaving his dirty dishes anywhere but in the sink (particularly when writing) He considers himself blessed with an accepting family, fantastic friends, and the world’s most supportive and loving partner. Andrew currently lives in beautiful, historic Carlisle,, Pennsylvania. You can find out more at , on facebook, twitter, or email him at

Clare London:

Things to do in a blizzard
Of course I have extensive experience of blizzards, living as I do in … um … balmy London. We only need a light fall of snow for 36 hours, and the country’s train network grinds to a halt in shock. I think I’ve worn my snowy-weather boots twice in the last year!

However, what the London weather *does* prepare us for is rain – long hours of cold, grey, sleeting, spiky, soaking rain.

Unlike the romantic white of snow, the grey rain seeps in down the back of your neck and up through the too-thin soles of your shoes. I still remember the Great Storm of 1987, when the weather forecaster is (in)famous for telling everyone the night before that of course there wasn’t any chance of a storm.

Next morning, we woke to widespread power lines down, fallen trees, floods, damaged property, many injuries. The famous seven oak trees in Sevenoaks, Kent had lost six of their number in one terrible night.

Amazingly, Hubby and I slept through the whole thing. We woke up to our alarm blinking away because power had been cut during the night, and wondering why there was no traffic noise outside. And, I have to admit, we just snuggled back down into the safety and warmth of our bed LOL. That’s OUR favourite thing to do in a blizzard – or equivalent!

About Clare: Clare took the pen name London from the city where she lives, loves, and writes. A lone, brave female in a frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home, she juggles her writing with the weekly wash, waiting for the far distant day when she can afford to give up her day job as an accountant. She’s written in many genres and across many settings, with novels and short stories published both online and in print. She says she likes variety in her writing while friends say she’s just fickle, but as long as both theories spawn good fiction, she’s happy. Most of her work features male/male romance and drama with a healthy serving of physical passion, as she enjoys both reading and writing about strong, sympathetic and sexy characters. Clare currently has several novels sulking at that tricky chapter 3 stage and plenty of other projects in mind . . . she just has to find out where she left them in that frenetic, testosterone-fuelled family home. All the details of her books and free fiction are available at her website and blog.

From S.A.Meade: - What Not to do in a blizzard.

Years and years ago, my ex and I did the annual Christmas present run to Birmingham. We didn't have a car so we took a bus. The journey up was uneventful but the journey back to Cambridge was...interesting. The weather forecasters predicted snow. We really didn't give it much thought. After all, someone else would be doing the driving. All we had to do was sit and admire the view.

A few flakes fell when we left Birmingham. By the time we reached the next stop, Coventry, there were a few more. The bus headed on to Northampton, by which time there was a healthy amount of snow. We still weren't worried. It was pretty, right? In Bedford the snow was really coming down. The bus headed for St. Neots, up the hill and onto open, flat land. Big Mistake. The wind piled up drifts across the road and the foolish souls who'd ventured out were stranded and so was our bus.

We sat in the bus while babies cried and the wind slammed into the side of the bus. After an hour or so, I began to envy the men of the party who could pop out for a quick pee. No such luck for the women. My eyes started to water. I fidgeted and worried and wondered whether I could ask for a diaper because I wasn't confident that my bladder could hold out much longer. Finally, one brave woman said ... "To hell with this, I need a pee." Half a dozen visibly relieved women followed in her wake, myself included. We blundered into a snowy, freezing hell and did what needed to be done, in the teeth of the gale and blowing snow.

A little while later, the police made their way to the bus, we were all loaded into a wagon and taken back to the Police station in Bedford, where the generous souls of the local Womens' Royal Voluntary Society had provided beds, biscuits and that great British pick-me-up, tea. After a sleepless night trying to bunk down on the floor with fifty other stranded souls, we were loaded back onto the bus and we made it back to Cambridge.

So my advice. Don't go out in a blizzard. If you must, make sure you (a)pee first and (b)have a cast iron bladder.

About S.A.Meade: lives in deepest Wiltshire and is pathetically happy to see rain after eight years in the desert of south central Arizona. She stumbled into writing m/m by accident when she realised that her historicals put agents to sleep. Since then she’s realised she’s addicted to the genre and keeps writing more dirty books. She loves cooking and eating what she cooks and shares her home with a patient husband and son and two heat-seeking cats. S.A. can be found boring people witless with her blog -">

There's a give away today. My new book, 'Orion Rising' is released on 26th March, by Total E Bound, so I'll be giving a copy away to the best answer to what to do in a blizzard.
And remember, our other authors will be doing give-aways on their release days. So keep following and keep posting!

Our books are all released in March. Don't forget to check them out!

Blaine D. Arden 3/9/2012 The Fifth Son
Andrew Grey 3/15/2012 A Helping of Love
Ethan Stone 3/25/2012 Subject 13
S.A. Meade 3/26/2012 Orion Rising
Clare London 3/28/2012 Ambush

Sixteen authors are here to do their best to make your winter brighter in January, February, March, and April. (Unless you’re south of the equator, and then we’ll just be jealous of your summer.) Every Wednesday will be a new stop on the tour (see schedule below). Be sure to leave a comment at each stop for up to sixteen chances at the grand prize: a $200 USD gift certificate to the e-retailer of your choice. Also keep an eye out for links to individual authors’ sites on their release dates for a chance to win some free books.

March 7: Things to Do in a Blizzard (hosted by S.A. Meade)
March 14: St. Patrick’s Day (hosted by Clare London)
March 21: Spring Break (hosted by Blaine Arden)
March 28: Join us for a March Getaway (hosted by Tales from the Writing Cave)
April 4: Favorite Winter Movies (hosted by Stumbling Over Chaos)
April 11: Signs of Spring (hosted by J.P. Barnaby)
April 18: Join us for an April Getaway (hosted by Marie Sexton)
April 25: Farewell (hosted by Joyfully Jay)
April 30: Grand Prize Announcement (hosted by Heidi Cullinan)


  1. It's hard to think of a blizzard when it's 80 outside. This winter we did see snow, but it didn't stick. Oh well. Thanks for the contest. sara @

  2. Given I'm in soggy England I can't remember a proper blizzard; although my parents live out in rural Herefordshire. I do remember it being cold enough once that mum had to use boiling water to open the back door - it had frozen shut! And I definitely remember the storm in 1987 - luckily we were weren't flooded but dad spent a lot of time nextdoor as they were a bit lower than us so were frantically sweeping water out of the house - trust me, it makes sense if you ever have to do it!
    Given a real blizzard? I don't have snuggies but I do have a lot of (fake) fur blankets so I'd be curled up under those, preferably with both partners. I'm sure we'd think of something to do to keep ourselves warm :)

  3. The last time I was in a really good blizzard I was about 12 and we were living near Lake Erie. That lake effect snow... I'd never really seen anything like that before! We played a lot of board games and worked a lot of puzzles -- I think that was when I finally developed my version of my dad's cutthroat Parcheesi technique. And to this day, none of my siblings will play Monopoly with me anymore! Apparently I am evil.

  4. Ideally I'd spend a blizzard cozied up on the couch with someone special, several good books and a well stocked larder. Unfortunately, even with a chance to plan ahead, you don't always have your basic utilities.

    The blizzard I'll never forget involved spending a week with a co-worker of my mother's. The man was beyond annoying and by the end of the week we were ready to shovel the six plus miles out to a main road just to be rid of him (eight foot drifts and all). The downside of living on a dirt road is the town makes plowing it a very low priority. The fact that we had no electricity and our only water had to be fetched from the spring house out front (frozen pipes) just compounded the whole thing. Thankfully we had a wood stove to heat the house and a gas stove for cooking. As the week progressed and our fridge/freezer was depleted, I was more and more thankful that my parents are avid gardners and preserve the food they grow.

  5. Growing up in northern California, I've never had to deal with a blizzard. Like my mom, I've always been fascinated by movies and TV shows that deal with being snowed in (there's also a rockin' Joel Plaskett song called "Snowed In," where it becomes clear that the guy and girl who shouldn't get together are about to succumb to temptation once they get snowed in on the road). I guess it's not always so romantic, though.

    --Trix (vitajex[at]aol[dot]com)

  6. Where I live there really aren't many blizzards. In fact, some winters there is no snow at all. Two years ago, I was hosting Christmas eve at my house. A chance of snow was predicted. No big deal. I started cleaning house that morning. Why I do this when I know things will be a mess by the end of the evening is a mystery. By noon, it started snowing. Winds started blowing 40 mph out of the north. The snowflakes were huge. More and more snow fell. Because of the high winds, snowdrifts started to form. Late that afternoon there was already 7 inches of snow on the ground(with more to come). Luckily, for once in my life, I had all my shopping done so I didn't need to leave the house and the electricity managed to stay on. Things were in pretty good shape. Most of my family lives nearby, but several live 30 minutes away. They tried to make it, but the roads were so bad they had to turn around. Only 12 showed up instead of the 18 I was expecting.

    All things considered, we ended up having a really nice evening. It was definitely a Christmas(and a blizzard)to remember.


  7. I don't remember when we have blizzard last time here where I live. Sure, some heavy snows happen and public communication stops then, but nothing involving the power cuts and the need for shovel.

    I imagine blizzards are not so bad if you are home, with a non-electrical heating system. It's a great excuse to miss school or work and cuddle with a book near a candle or a kerosene lamp (my mother grew with kerosene lamp :). I remember, when I was younger (no computers, limited TV) we often played cards with my sister. Thats another activity I'd gladly engage in case of a blizzard.

  8. I don't live where there are blizzards but I love to see the pics. :)


  9. I live on the outskirts of London. Up to the last couple of winters we never got that much snow. But twice now our estate has been cut off completely. It's been wonderful. People actually talked to each other.

  10. When my little brother and I were kids we use to set up a "camp" in the living room. We would get our summer sleeping bags and soda and chips (Because when you were a kid surviving on chips and soda seemed possible) and would wait for the power to go out we use to get disappointed when it didn't. As an adult I pray the power don't go out and get disappointed when it does.

  11. Juliana
    If I was ever in a blizzard I would probably panic! I read a lot of articles and watch shows about surviving extreme weather but in real life I would be useless! I live in Florida and have only seen snow once, when I was on vacation in Washington, D.C. That was about one inch of snow that melted in a couple days. I can see myself freaking out over the slightest hint of a blizzard, all that info I learned would be forgotten!

  12. We have not had a blizzard this season in Pennsylvania, but we got hit with a one day ice storm in October that knocked the power out for a week. Luckily we have a generator and I convinced my husband to spare an outlet for my Kindle..I wasn't sure I would survive without being able to read. I have to say, snuggling in bed was awesome too :-)

  13. No blizzards this year but oh my last year was awful. My car was buried under snow for 2 weeks, my grandson finally helped me dig it out. I agree with Blaine's preparations plus I always make sure I have several hard copy books stashed in the closet just in case the nook runs down and there is no power. Food stocks should include things that can be cooked in the fireplace if the power goes out (electric range. Bread and cheese is good but boring after a few days, as are hot dogs and s'mores. I'll be ready if Mother Nature dumps on us next year.

  14. Thanks to everyone for stopping by and leaving a comment. The blizzard stories were all good and I've had a bit of a tough time picking a winner.
    I'm going with Yvette's answer. Anyone who can think of having an outlet for their kindle during a power outage is definitely a devoted reader!

  15. Thank you very much...I have my priorities :-)

  16. Well... I honestly wouldn't know what to do in a blizzard. I live in Los Angeles California. We're lucky to even see rain. lol...

    Uh, though I think that in a blizzard a person should best keep the house insulated. They should make sure to cover the windows and any cracks at the bottom of the door properly to not let any snow or water in. If they have a chimney keep is closed. Make sure to have lots of water (if they have a warning in advanced or in general if the area they are in is prone to blizzards) make sure to have a few extra canned foods and stuff..... make sure to have a generator and heating blankets or think blankets and warm clothes close during snow season at all times.

    and that's all I can think of. I have no Idea what to do with snow. lol... I've never even seen it. >w< but I hope my answers aren't that off the grid. lol

  17. Loveless, you're not tooo far off but darling only close your chimney if you want the house filled with smoke. Allow some ventilation, you don't want to die of carbon-monoxide. I'm sure there are many who would love to change places with you, me for one.

  18. We hardly got any snow at all this winter much less a blizzard! I do have a back-up power supply for my Kindle and my ipad in case of a power outage :)

  19. How about reading by candlelight, playing cards, playing board games, cuddling in front of the fireplace, trying to keep warm with your special someone in front of the fireplace or in the kitchen or in the study or the den, or how about all those places. Sounds like fun. Can't wait for a blizzard to try them out. Aw heck, who needs a blizzard.


  20. Ahh, the great storm of 87, I remember it well. I was working in an insurance related industry and the following weeks were chaotic.

  21. Only time I've seen a blizzard (or 20) was shen I lived in Oslo in 92 TOO MUCH SNOW, but they were very efficient in getting everything cleared so people could go to work

  22. Three Christmas seasons ago, we had a bad snow and ice storm that knocked out power lines around the state, especially in the rural areas, for days. At the time my son was using some medical equipment that needed electricity and had battery backup. We heated with gas and had enough propane for our lanterns and a small cook-stove for three days, but on the fourth day and night we had to finally go stay with some other family members because his battery backup died. I only missed a day of work because the four-wheel drive could make it out to the main road, but the ice had really compromised the power lines. You never really realize how dependent we become on "modern conveniences." At least we were lucky enough to be back home before New Year's Eve. Other families didn't get their power back on for over a week or better that year! I have been happy with the mild weather this year!