Friday, June 14, 2024



"Most compelling snow story since The Shining." -- Stephen Spignesi, New York Times best-selling author of Stephen King, American Master

By Cal Orey

The Whiteout Effect: Rescue Me! revolves around a chain of events that evolve about a rare Sierra Nevada late-winter blizzard based at the popular iconic town of South Lake Tahoe, California, as well as the personal relationships of a team of first responders rescue efforts. The captivating story explores bravery, dedication, and sacrifice as the characters risk their lives during an unpredictable dangerous epic storm.

Q: What drew you to write this short novel?

I was contacted by a new and talented author who wanted me to help her finish a work in progress. During this time it was when South Lake Tahoe was hit by a rare late winter storm. So, it seemed meant to be to have the setting here—my home. The storyline is about first responders who are challenged by blizzard rescues. We decided to add a bit of romance between a firefighter and a paramedic. And, of course, as dog lovers, we added a canine (or two).

Q: What reactions have you received so far from readers?
At first, the short novel ranked 1 in the Top 100 categories Natural Disasters, and it’s held its place for weeks like a resilient first responder rescuing residents and tourists. One well-known author gave the novel this blurb: “Most compelling snow story since The Shining! Gripping and dramatic!” Another top psychologist wrote: “First responders struggling against the force of nature makes a truly exciting adventure—and there is also a bit of romance and even a dog.”

Q: Among the thousands of published magazine articles, and dozens of books, most notably are your stories about health, relationships, pets, and science. Was this novel difficult to write since it’s a bit out of your comfort zone as an author?

The story wrote itself. Since The Whiteout Effect is based in the Sierra Nevada, I was familiar with nature’s wrath. As a native California I’ve experienced major earthquakes, snowstorms, blackouts, road closures, spinouts, and whiteouts. Also, the co-author had previous training with Emergency Medical Services; as a nature-loving, adventurous author I’ve been writing about natural disasters since I was a kid. I can tell you that in Book 2, The Blackout Effect, there will be more sci-fi-Ish stories based in the South when the power goes out. It’s funny, but I recall back in my twenties I hitchhiked with a dog through the Gulf Coast states…so basing the sequel on the beach—with its challenges—felt right.

Q: What are your favorite parts of The Whiteout Effect?
I like the heroine Alex Callahan, a scorned, independent paramedic), and Mike Armstrong, a strong and sensitive firefighter who are trying to save lives during a monster blizzard. Each rescue is intense—gets the heart pounding. Alongside their work mission, there is also a budding relationship of Alex and Mike (who escape work stressors to go on a short adventure-seeking snowmobile trip in the backcountry), playing down the hype of the storm, adding a layer of emotional depth to the story.

Q: The scenes about the sensitive nature between dogs and their owners are amazing. Can you kindly elaborate on this?
I believe our pets—horses and dogs—can sense danger, whether it be challenges in a blizzard or if their humans are in trouble. So, the dog and horse feats in Whiteout ring true.

Q: What new topics are on your desk for future books?
The Whiteout Effect is Book 1 the Rescue Me! trilogy. Next up is The Blackout Effect. And Book 3 is The Orange Effect. Teaser: What if the power grid goes down? Well, we take you to paradise but it’s spooky stuff! For more information: The Whiteout Effect is available in two formats at online bookstores. The Blackout Effect will be released in July (just in time for our Tahoe summer thunderstorms and before hurricane peak season in the Gulf Coast and Atlantic Seaboard).


Parker Kelly is a wife, mom, grandmother, and dog parent, including two fun-loving shepherds. She lives in Texas, so twisters, storms, earthquakes, and Gulf Coast hurricanes are part of her life in the South.

Cal Orey, M.A., is a bestselling author-novelist specializing in adventure, history, romance, and science. Orey lives in South Lake Tahoe, California, with an Australian Shepherd and a dog-friendly orange cat.

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