It all started with a plan. See some snow, make some memories, and relax. Before I left, I turned in my manuscript on Amazon. Because—that was my plan. What do you think happened? Here’s a hint. Here is the moral of the story, so you don’t have to read this entire mess. PLAN AHEAD OF YOUR PLANS. I like to keep my private life to a certain limit, so I will take away the names, but most of my family members planned this trip. If I mention my Yellow Bird, I refer to the gentleman who put a ring on it.

Our Cabin

The Hunted Prince was undergoing the last changes—like my books or not, as an artist, I always ensure I am satisfied with my work. When I wrote a dialogue between Ryth and Oregus, I discovered I was the latter artist.

“One artist yearns for approval, for prosperity, and to receive recognition among the land. The other is entrapped by the wheel of what they create, and when it breathes life into them, that is all they need.

– Oregus, blacksmith of The Squire

Power Outage

Our plan, stay in the Stanislaus National Forest for three days and two nights. We arrived at our cabin and had a blast on the first day, that night, and the following morning. Between the fun, I scanned through my manuscript for the flow of the overall e-book version. I take more pleasure in making paperbacks than e-books because there are no limits to what you can do artistically. When I found some errors that needed my attention—and worse, typos. I wasn’t sweating. I had one day and so many hours left before turning in any final changes (I can make changes whenever I want but keep in mind I have a preorder—meaning; I have readers who will get the first copy, and they deserve the best).

Waking up to a nice view.

Towards the end of the second night, we all went to the game room. I never played pool. The chalk always looked pleasing to the eye, and I have memories as a child climbing the stool trying to steady the heavy billiard cue before my mom told me to get down. After my Yellow Bird defeated my brother and nephew, I was convinced that maybe, me—a noob had a chance at defeating him. As we were about to play a round, the lights shut off. EVERYTHING SHUTS OFF.

The boys playing pool before my turn.

The Blizzard

Before our connection to the world was lost, aka the internet, we were warned of a blizzard coming. Our region wasn’t on the map at the time. Sierra National Forest and the forests higher up California were the ones under the radar, so we didn’t sweat…too much. But that blizzard came, bringing powerlines to come down, taking our light, heat, and—yes, internet.

“This storm, forecasters say, has it all: Brutal winds, torrential rain, blizzard conditions, blinding snow, the threat of mudslides and debris flows, power outages and more.”

https://www.sacbee.com/news/weather-news/article248772805.html

We cozied up under candlelight, conversed, made jokes (more like excessive jokes in this family). It was a chilly first night, nobody exactly anticipated this, but we had fun. Before bed, I thought about my final changes, and the hours counting down. My reason for panic? There are consequences for not keeping up to your side on preorders, and I didn’t want to be in the red zone.

I wake up to a cold room but cozy warm bed. Beside me was my man-heater. Shout out to all the men in the world who produce excessive heat that women like me just simply need. On the brightside of our powerless cabin, the gas worked, so we had a warm kitchen, water that still ran hot, and food to eat. We waited for the power to come back but it didn’t, and the snow kept piling up.

My niece cleared the patio on day on we arrived, then this happened.

Now and then, my sister’s phone service would get through, and she would update us and make calls because the road back home was impossible. Even with snow chains in our possession—the snow kept coming, and with two shovels to dig two cars out of the driveway was just becoming a difficult task. So much snow had piled up that a tree fell between my mother’s car and my car. Trees were falling around us, when washed my hand in the bathroom, I looked outside the window and saw a pine tree snap in half. Later that day, more snow kept coming. Mind you. We were about 3,500 ft in elevation, which meant the blizzard hit us the most.

I made some hot chocolate for the whole family to enjoy.

By our third night, flashlights lighted our walkway, candlelight flickered in the dining room, and the food supply was going low. It was said that the blizzard would end on Friday, but time was ticking for me. I haven’t updated my changes. Hot spots worked but only out of the cabin. While I laid on the couch, my Yellow Bird saw my defeated state and asked my sister’s fiancé if he could use his phone to try the hotspot in our car. Pros: Charge all cellphones and chargers, and get some data. Cons: There were no cons really, I needed to update what I could change now! That night was both romantic and nerve-wracking.

Elevation in the mountains inflated my bag of chips.

With my Yellow Bird in the driver’s seat, and the car keeping us warm, we got data—slow data but data indeed! I hooked up our laptop, and we stayed there for about three hours! I was told how loved I was, how irreplaceable I was as a person to my Yellow Bird. We made jokes, rocked our heads to the music, I didn’t use the data for social media or tell the world I was stuck. This was my adventure, and my goal was to turn in my updates. With only 12 hours left and the submit manuscript screen taking more than usual to send, I did just that.

Celebrating my winning with a picture.

The following morning, the boys went into action and shoveled us out. We learned one of our cabin neighbors had a tree fall through their living room. The PG&E told my Yellow Bird an avalanche closed nearby. But the power of small communities was there. We offered to help a truck that couldn’t drive uphill, and we were supported in return by a generous man who cleared our street with his Bobcat tractor who had a loader scoop. Before dark, we packed up, I still took pictures, and we kissed our planned and unplanned vacation goodbye.

Note: It’s a good thing we left when we left!

“After historic snowfall earlier this week, parts of the country from the West Coast to the Northeast will again see snowfall, forecast to stretch into next week.”

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2021/01/28/weather-winter-storm-targets-california-sierra-nevada-northeast/4290308001/

During our departure, I took this pic to remember how much snow piled up.

I didn’t think I would ever be in a situation where everything hung on the balance of scarce data, being in a car during a blizzard, downloading my final changes to my book, only to be here—sharing an author’s worst nightmare! If I can be honest, I didn’t expect it would work out. Ironically I didn’t heed my own character’s advice—and yes you will find him in The Hunted Prince.

Think of every possibility.

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