Monday, February 27, 2012

Driving Impaired: Think Twice

Katrina, the young heroine in my debut novel THE TRAZ is orphaned at the age of 13 when a 2-car crash kills her parents.  Both drivers were impaired. I wish it was just fiction, but as our guest blogger, Sara Witt explains, thousands of people are killed each year due to alcohol impaired driving.

The legal blood alcohol limit varies from place to place and sometimes it is confusing like my home province of Alberta, Canada where hefty fines were recently introduced for .05 levels but criminal charges aren't laid unless drivers asre over .08.  

Sara helps us with the new law by outlining the physical and mental effects of various blood alcohol levels.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 10,839 people in the U.S. were killed in 2009 due to alcohol-impaired traffic crashes; that's about 1/3 of all traffic-related deaths that year.

Please note that those killed in drug/alcohol related crashes weren’t necessarily the ones impaired; there are times when the impaired driver escapes an accident alive while an innocent driver, passenger, or stander by doesn’t.   What people don’t realize is that in choosing to drive after a night of drinking, even if they’re just “buzzed,” they’re truly placing themselves and others in harm’s way.  

According to the National Institutes of Health, alcohol consumption results in, “Difficulty walking, blurred vision, slurred speech, slowed reaction times, impaired memory,” and impaired judgment.  

It’s not that you physically can’t drive when you’re under the influence, it’s that you shouldn’t.  Whether or not you want to accept it at the time, even one or two drinks affect your brain.  According to the CDC, drivers are affected in the following ways by alcohol consumption: 

·         When your blood alcohol level hits .02 percent:
o   Your visual functions begin to decline, i.e. your ability to track a moving target;
o   Your ability to multi-task declines.
·         When your blood alcohol level hits .05 percent:
o   Your coordination is reduced;
o   Your visual functions continue to decline;
o   You may begin to have trouble properly steering your vehicle; and
o   The amount of time it takes you to respond to emergency driving situations increases.
·         When your blood alcohol level hits .08 percent:
o   Your concentration is impaired;
o   You suffer short-term memory loss;
o   Your ability to process information declines; and
o   Your perception is impaired.
·         When your blood alcohol level hits .10 percent:
o   Your ability to maintain your lane deteriorates;
o   Your ability to utilize the brakes when appropriate declines.
·         When your blood alcohol level hits .15 percent:
o   Your control over your vehicle is substantially impaired;
o   You lack an attention span;
o   Your vision and hearing are severely impaired.

Despite the effects alcohol and drugs can have on drivers, nearly 147 million people admit to driving under the influence every year, and less than 1 percent are caught.  In 2009, 1.4 million drivers were arrested for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.

Remember, when it comes down to it, driving under the influence isn’t just about you; it’s about everyone else that will be affected and harmed by your actions, i.e. your family, friends, and fellow motorists.  Children are commonly affected by impaired driving accidents.  In 2009, 1,314 children aged 14 or younger died in traffic accidents; 14 percent (181) of those children were killed due to an alcohol-impaired driver and half of those killed in an alcohol-impaired accident were passengers of a driver under the influence of alcohol.  

 Here are other ways your choice to drive impaired could affect others: 
  •  Friends or family may suffer from immense guilt if they let you drive knowing that you were under the influence.
  • Friends or family would be put through the hell of mourning your death; 
  • Family may have to deal with the legal ramifications of your decision, whether you lived through the accident or not. 
The simple fact is this: If you decide to get into a car after consuming drugs or alcohol, you may not live to see the destruction your actions have caused; but your family, friends, and other motorists affected by your decision will.  If you are faced with the choice, and won’t do it for your own safety, do it to spare those around you the pain and suffering your actions may cause.

This guest post brought to us by Sara Witt. Sara writes articles to help citizens make informed decisions when hiring a Personal Injury Attorney.  Visit her at

 Eileen Schuh, Author
Schrödinger's Cat

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Review: Some Like It Hot

Some Like It Red Hot

By Robin Merrill

Acacia Publishing, Inc

ISBN: 978-0-9774-306-4-2

2008, Trade Paper, 276 pages

Lotsimina Hannon (Lotsi to her intimates) is forced by an evil corporate empire to retire before her time. Lotsi, for want of something else to do, decides to start a whole new life. What better way to do so than buy an old RV and a new motorcycle and hit the road? The fact that she’s never in her life driven either a large recreational vehicle or a high-powered motorcycle is no deterrent.

Since she’s looking for a little excitement in her new life, she heads to Las Vegas , home of opulent RV parks, saunas and hot tubs. And men. Oh yes. Older and retired, but far from sedentary, Lotsi has the heart and the attitudes of a much younger woman. You might say the fires are low but still burning. All it takes is a delectable hunk with the wit and the knowledge of the desires of the more mature woman, and a certain level of experience, to bring those embers to a raging inferno. It also may be said that starting a relationship in a hot tub can get things off to a quick start.

Then of course, murder and associated chicanery intrudes and Lotsi is forced into a game of clues, a game that soon turns deadly. What’s worse, Lotsi becomes a target of the killers even while desperately learning to ride the motorcycle and speed out of trouble.

Smartly written, with tongue firmly planted in cheek, author Merrill presents a romp through the RV culture with pokes at aging baby boomers that is just askew enough to keep you reading and chuckling all the way along. While the story is realistically presented with enough straight and freaky characters to keep readers guessing, this frank romantic mystery is not aimed at fans of the realistic or the noir. A fun read. I hope the author is able to bring us further adventures of the mature.

Carl Brookins, Case of the Great Train Robbery, Reunion, Red Sky

Monday, February 20, 2012

This is Mystery and Writing Covention Time

The first one up for me is Epicon. This is a convention for e-published authors and has been around for a long, long time. This year it will be in San Antonio TX. One of my books is a finalist in their competition--not a mystery this time, it's Lingering Spirit, a romance with a touch of the supernatural.

No, I haven't given up writing mysteries. Actually this book was written and published a long time ago. It had a new lease on life when one of my mystery publishers picked it up and released it as an e-book.

Epicon focuses on the e-book and is geared toward published writers.

Left Coast Crime is in Sacramento this year, not too far north of where I live. When I checked out plane fares, etc., the cost was astronomical and I had to make dumb changes whether I flew out of Bakersfield or Fresno. One flight would have taken me to Phoenix AZ, back to San Francisco, then another small town before the destination of Sacramento. The other one I found was just as dumb, so I decided to check out the train. For much less cost and a trip straight to Sacramento, I bought my train ticked. I've always loved LCC and have attended several. Probably the most fun about LCC is seeing old friends, writers and readers, and meeting a lot of new people who all love mysteries.

The only other conference I'm going to this year isn't until July, the Public Safety Writers Association. in Las Vegas. Check out the program and see all the great speakers, from FBI to a Foresnic Nurse. There will also be craft and promo panels.

The rest of the time I'll be promoting on line, writing the next mystery, and giving talks at libraries and anywhere else I'm invited, and going to craft and book festivals.


Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mystery Writing Workshop

“Mystery Bones”

How to Plot A Murder Mystery
With Juanita Rose Violini
20 years experience writing Murder Mystery Entertainment Scripts
Author of Almanac of the Infamous, the Incredible and the Ignored

“Fair Play Whodunnits”

Mysteries where the author "plays fair" and gives the reader all of the clues necessary to solve the mystery. Fair play cluetrails can be used in:

  • Mystery novels, short stories or scripts
  • Murder Mystery Parties & Games
  • Mystery Contests for promotion entertainment
  • Murder Mystery Fundraisers

Love reading mysteries? Want to be a writer? Working within a structure makes it easy. Juanita Violini takes you through the dirt, bones, muscles, heart, mind and soul of a mystery plot.

For more information or to register contact College of the Rockies
Invermere Campus:
Phone: 250-342-3210, Toll Free: 1-866-489-2687 ext 7110 or email:
Kimberley Campus:
Phone: 250-427-7116, Toll Free: 1-866-489-2687 ext 3752 or email:

Thursday, February 02, 2012

Crime & Technology

I got an interesting email today (not sure how I get on these mailing lists) from --a company that invented a crime-fighting app for iPhones and androids.

This app apparently lets you report crimes/suspicious activities to the authorities with the push of a button.  But, wait...there's more.  It will include video and/or pictures with your report, and your location, and...


Sounds quite cool.  However, first things first...Must go out and buy a smart phone.