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Friday, September 3, 2010


It's Been A Long, Hot Summer!

The one thing I've learned in my life that doesn't change is the fact that everything changes. Sometimes those changes are expected and planned. Sometimes they are unexpected and one just has to adapt and do the best given the situation. In my case things changed very quickly on June 18, 2010 when my house burned to the ground reducing everything inside to ashes—so much for sentimental items.

Over the course of my many, many years here on planet Earth I have had to adjust to change countless times but there is something about having everything I've worked for go up in flames that puts everything in perspective and brings about a few lessons I'd yet to learn.

First, nothing is forever. You can't take it with you and sometimes you can't keep it while you're still here. Things can be replaced and life goes on. Second, make sure you know what you're getting with your insurance company. Even though my house and belongings were insured I had no idea how underinsured I was. I also didn't know that the insurance company didn't insure personal property on replacement value but deduct depreciation and they have a cap on some items like cameras, computers, and other electronic devices so no matter how much you pay for one of these items, the insurance company is only going to give you a certain amount no matter if you just bought the item yesterday.

Insurance companies do not have your best interest at heart. They are only concerned with getting your money every month and paying out as little as possible when you make a claim. No matter how friendly they seem on their commercials or while selling you the insurance, make a claim and you find out they don't provide the lube either. Just grab your ankles, take a deep breath and hope you come out of it with your dignity in tact.

Living in Oklahoma comes with its own set of problems sometimes. Property values are much lower here than in other parts of the country, which is awesome when you're buying a home. When you are trying to insure a home though, the value is much lower making the payout in the event of a disaster much lower.

I have learned quite a few things however. Take a picture of each item of personal property and attach the original receipt to the picture. Record each item along with the serial number, date/place of purchase and price. Don't wait until there's a claim to be made and try to remember everything in your house. You will be surprised at how many things you own and how much it's worth, but you won't be able to remember everything after it has gone up in smoke. Keep copies of important papers in your house and the originals either in a fireproof lock box or a safety deposit box along with your pictures and record of purchases.

When insuring your property always assume the worst will happen and insure accordingly. I insured thinking the most that I had to worry about was a storm taking the roof because the building was new, the wiring was new, the hot water heater was new and a fire was the farthest thing from my mind. We rarely have tornadoes in this part of Oklahoma but we do get some hellacious storms so I only thought of the roof. My bad! So as I get ready to move into my new house I am thinking of all the things I need to do to get ready to present to the insurance agent. I am also thinking I feel sorry for my new agent because this person is going to get the grilling of a lifetime and will probably think s/he has just sold insurance to a witch from the deepest pits of hell! Having put up with the last insurance agent/adjuster and the hoops I had to jump through to get a settlement, I won't make the same mistakes again.

Of course, there has been an up side to this debacle that I do want to mention. Jay Hartman of Untreed Reads is by far the coolest person I have ever met and publisher of the year in my books. After hearing of my house fire he wanted to help as much as he could. My short story A WINTER'S NIGHT was just about to be released and Jay decided to donate 100% of the royalties from every purchase to me through December 31, 2010. The cover artist, Dara England also donated her time in creating the awesome cover for me. I cannot express just my gratitude but also how in awe I am at their selflessness in this endeavor.

You can contribute by purchasing a copy of A WINTER'S NIGHT at then email a copy of your receipt to and get a free copy of GHOSTS OF VALENTINES PAST courtesy Noble Romance Publishing. So that's two e-books for one low price and you can't beat that with a stick!

Excerpt from A WINTER'S NIGHT:

Round and low, the full moon settled into the tops of the trees as if the leafless limbs were spearing it. The sky clear and so cold. The snow had fallen deep upon the land and lay quietly awaiting a spring still several months away. The blanketed earth would be frozen solid by daylight and neither man nor beast would dare venture out in this bitterness. Fires had been banked in the hearth of every cottage, animals lay warm in their dens, and the stillness across the land broken only by the sound of labored breathing.

The old woman heard it clearly and rose from her bed. She wrapped her shawl about her shoulders and went to the fireplace, and stoked it to life. The time had come and she knew she must hurry before it was too late. The bitter air hurt her lungs when she stepped into the cold night. The snow crunched loudly beneath her feet as she hobbled quickly along. Her cheeks burned from the freezing air and her gnarled fingers were already frozen and numb, but she hurried onward, sensing the urgency that vibrated through the air.

When she came to the dense woods she leaned against a pine tree to rest and catch her breath. When her breathing regulated she moved on, and a scream suddenly pierced the still night. Old and arthritic, the cold caused her joints to scream even louder. Her toes, nose and fingers were numb, but she continued onward and hoped she wasn’t too late.
At last she came to a clearing and found the girl writhing on the ground, cold and crying with water and blood spreading over the snow, appearing black in the moonlight. Kneeling beside her, the old woman sucked her own fingers into her mouth to help thaw them, and then unwrapped the bundle she’d brought with her.

The girl shook from both fear and cold as she looked up with wide eyes, pain evident on her young face. “I tried to rid myself of it, but I did it wrong and it grew anyway,” Gwynellian cried out as another contraction contorted her body.

“Don’t fret now, it’s much too late. The babe will come and I will help her and you, but you must help me, too.” The woman spread Gwyn’s legs and bent her knees up. She placed a cloth on the cold snow and when Gwyn pushed, the babe emerged and the old woman wrapped the child securely in a blanket as she worked to stop the blood pouring from Gwyn onto the ground.

“Is it a boy or a girl?”

The old woman said softly, “A girl.”

“Call her Rowan,” Gwyn whispered, and breathed her last.

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Don't miss Rie on Red River Radio September 14, 2010, 7 pm (CST) as she joins April Robins in reviewing Lifetime's hit TV show DROP DEAD DIVA!

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Rie McGaha writes books in all genres from paranormal to fantasy to time travel to suspense and sometimes all in the same book! Her most recent release CLOSURE is available from Champagne Books, and COMES AN OUTLAW is available from Silver Publishing. You can check out excerpts of Rie's books, get the latest free reads, and contest news at Rie lives in SE Oklahoma with her husband Nathan, is the mother of 12 and Nana of 29.

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