Lockdown, a novel - synopsis

When disaster strikes, where do you turn?

Rowan Morgan thinks she’s ready for the rare great earthquake that devastates the Pacific Northwest but she quickly finds out there is more to emergency preparation than stockpiling food. Disasters change people, make them anxious.

Anxious people make bad decisions, take silly risks. 

At their father’s insistence Rowan and her brother have taken first aid courses, learned to fish and hunt, and know to close ranks around the family in emergencies. When she has to put that training into practice, Rowan discovers many situations are not covered in survival manuals.


Lockdown a novel

Young Adult Fiction

ISBN: 978-1926531922                                                        

Available from:          

Great Plains Teen Fiction


or your local independent bookseller

ShakeOut BC Day - Thursday October 17, 2013 10:17 AM

Earthquake Preparation!

Are you participating in the Great British Columia Shake Out? Why would you do that? From the ShakeOut website:

"While potential earthquake hazards depend on your location, everywhere in British Columbia is considered at high risk in relation to the rest of Canada. For example, on January 26, 1700, a magnitude 9 earthquake (similar to the 2011 Tohoku earthquake off the coast of Japan) shook the entire province as well as Washington, Oregon, and California, and generated a massive tsunami.

What we do now will determine our quality of life after our next big earthquake. Are you prepared to survive and recover quickly?"

Get more information here: ShakeOut BC


Photo from UBC archives via Wikimedia Commons: Virgin Forest in Stanley Park 1912 by Rosetti Photographic Studios

How do you prepare your inner self?

Okay so you’ve prepared yourself for disaster. If you’ve ticked each of these:

Maslow, with his Hierarchy of Needs would probably give you an A-plus for meeting the two bottom levels of his pyramid. Those levels are physiological necessities and personal safety.

Most emergency prep instructions only address these two core levels. Some add the other important component:

Should there be another level to emergency preparation? You know that old game ‘if you could only take one book with you to a desert island, what would it be?’ Maybe you should put a copy of that cherished entertainment into your pack. Maybe these items should be added to the checklist:

  • Books, cards, and board games, things allow us to escape to another world when our immediate environment offers little joy.

One thing we will have to cope with after a major disaster is the troubling uncertainty of life around us. Perhaps our packs should have meditation CD’s and Tibetan singing bowls? Impractical for sure but you get my point. We don’t have to be just physically prepared for disaster, we have to brace ourselves psychologically as well.

The dog in this picture is wearing an Anxiety Wrap that uses maintained pressure and acupressure to end thunderstorm fear, separation anxiety, noise phobias and more. I don’t know if it works or not but if it does, I wonder if the technology couldn’t be applied for humans? If so, we could all pack an anxiety wrap in our bug-out bag.

Are you good with sudden and dramatic changes in your life? How does a person prepare themselves for the unthinkable? Is there any point in trying or should we just go with the flow should worse come to worst?


Photo from Wikimedia Commons by: www.anxietywrap.com

Are you ready? Ready for what?

I have an earthquake app on my iPad. That’s why I can tell you that within the past twenty-four hours there have been eight earthquakes within 1,050 kilometres (652 miles) of Vancouver, BC. From Alaska to Northern California they ranged from magnitude 2.5 to 4.5. Some quakes have happened offshore but most were on land.

Every time a quake registers somewhere on the globe, my iPad chimes an alert. Sometimes the proximity to where I am is scary but having information makes me feel a little bit more in control, not that I can do anything about it.

I use Quakes – Earthquake Notifications by TAWCS to monitor this information and watch the updates with great, if a little morbid, interest. There are a lot of other earthquake applications out there too, along with apps that will alert you to tornadoes, tsunamis, volcanoes and just plain ‘severe weather.’ I haven’t investigated those other apps as they aren’t the focus of my novel but it makes me wonder what disaster do we prepare for?

Are you disaster-ready? What external threat worries you the most?

In the beginning

I'm terrified of earthquakes. I grew up in Victoria BC where we experienced an occasional temblor or two, frequently enough to remind us how vulnerable we were.

When I moved to Australia, I put that worry behind me. Instead I learned to respect the terrible might of bushfires. Our house was built on a ridge, looking down over 10,000 acres of national park. I became a volunteer firefighter (CFU) and learned to sleep with one ear open during bushfire season.

Then I moved back to Canada and my husband and I bought a house on the side of Mount Fromme. We now live perched on top of the Pacific Ring of Fire. It's not a matter of if a major quake will ever shake the Pacific Northwest, it's a question of when. Geological time is vast, though, and it may not happen for another thousand years.

Or it could happen today, as I sit here typing. I started thinking that way a couple of years ago and that's when the idea for my novel Lockdown was born. I wanted to go some place that really frightened me and in writing this book, I found it.

My novel will be released by Great Plains Publishing early in 2014 and until then, I'm going to explore my fascination with earthquakes on this blog.

Welcome to my nightmare.


Photo: Christchurch, March 2011 by BluesandViews