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Wednesday, November 20, 2013


When Young Adult author Brenda Maxfield isn’t teaching, she’s holed up writing in her lake cabin and write, often with a batch of popcorn and dark chocolate nearby. Learn more about her and her books at her website and blog. Today Brenda stops by to tell us of a harrowing holiday experience that happened years ago and how she brought the memories of that experience into her latest Christmas release.
Over the Mountain Pass

Before living in the tropics, my home was in Central Washington State.  When Thanksgiving and Christmas came around, it was cold — often below zero cold. To celebrate both holidays, my new husband and I would load up our VW Beetle and head over the Cascade Mountains toward the coast where our parents lived.

We’d chuck our tire chains — now illegal — into the trunk and pray the ice and snow wouldn’t be bad enough to have to use them.

One particularly blustery night before Thanksgiving, our prayers were not answered. When passing over the mountains, we hit a white wall of snow, fog, and sleet. We slid to the side of the road to put on the chains. In the middle of the job, our flashlight went dim and we finished chaining up in the dark.

Wet and miserable, we climbed back into the car and started the motor. We crawled from the shoulder back onto the road when we heard a deafening metal clunk. The car jerked to a stop, throwing us against our seatbelts.

Cell phones didn’t exist during those years. We were stuck.

Fortunately, tow trucks troll mountain passes for unlucky travelers like us. One stopped and we found out the chains were wrapped and tangled around the axle. Could our rescuer fix it? No, but he could tow us to the nearest wide spot in the road to find a motel.

We quickly switched to Plan B: Spend the night in the mountains and pass most of Thanksgiving at a car garage the next morning.

We did finally make it to the coast. Thanksgiving dinner was over, the throng of relatives had thinned, and the dishes had been washed. However, leftovers were in the oven and had never tasted so good.

In my new YA short story Seeking Christmas, Courtney carts her little brother from the Washington Coast to Idaho. She travels some of the same roads we used to travel. She worries about the road conditions just like we did. But her greater worry is meeting up with the father who deserted both her and her brother years previously.

How could such a meeting possibly go well? And would she even have the guts to follow through with it?

I hope you’ll grab a copy of Seeking Christmas and enjoy this holiday story of forgiveness and redemption.

Seeking Christmas (an Ocean Mist short story Two):
The Christmas season has eighteen-year-old Courtney crossing the state line with her little brother Dennis to rendezvous with the man who deserted them years ago. Courtney remembers him only as the tall man who ran away. Dennis doesn’t remember him at all.

Courtney is furious, but Denny is curious. Will their meeting result in a happy Christmas memory or another miserable disappointment? 


Anonymous said...

Hi Lois! Thanks so much for letting me visit today! I'm glad to be here!

Angela Adams said...

Brenda, that had to be a scary experience. I'm glad you made it through to tell us about it -- and to add it to your story. Thanks for sharing.

Unknown said...

I never been stuck on the road in the snow but here in WI I have driven on some pretty crappy roads. I hate winter driving.