Writing Redneck

A Writer’s Personality.

I like knives. I don’t think I could formulate a more redneck statement. It is true though. They are elegant, useful, and diverse, a sophisticated weapon if ever one existed.

Frankly axes fall into this category too, they are less diverse, but their uses are simple and direct. As a contrastly crude battle instrument when compared to the knife, their similarities end with their cutting edges and wooden grips. I like axes but mainly because I am a backwoods girl and I split firewood by hand. Hitting the sweet spot and splitting a round of red fir precisely in half is a fantastic feeling. I say red fir, because Lodge-pole pine burns too fast and too hot and Ponderosa pine is a royal pain in the rear end to split. The older the ax, the better. I don’t know all of the subtleties of ax-making (what I mean is I have no clue how they do it), but the new ones don’t stand up to the same punishment a really old one will.

With knives, I don’t much care how old they are. Throwing knives are particularly fun and I’ve actually gotten pretty good lately. A steady 60% if I am to be so generous. It is an event requiring little strength and a bit more finesse in regards to how you hold and release the weapon. Acquiring the skill is less fun than having it, but you can’t have one without the other.

Now, don’t be fooled, writing is still my main entertainment, work, and effort but you have to admit, playing (very responsibly) with knives is a pretty cool distraction when writer’s block is particularly bad.

Such an escape provides me with entertaining and sophisticated inspiration for my books. How much fun it is when I can contrive a character with those skills and attributes that I so desire. One such character, (a twenty year old female . . . a coincidence you say? Probably,) is fun because of this particular interest. Living in a medieval setting she carries no traditional weapons, just a myriad of knives, which causes great concern to the royal guards of her bonded king.

In the second book of the Stones of Caron series, she gets to showcase her ability and is really a lot of fun when she develops in Book 3.

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Writing news.

New Book + news.

Hey Everyone, Book 1, The Stones of Caron What Time Handed Them, is available on Amazon, Createspace, and Kindle. It is an epic adventure about elves, dragons, dwarfs, and creatures never before seen.

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I’ve spent the better part of the past seven years working with it, playing with it, and having fun overall. I’m really excited that its on the market now but the excitement doesn’t end there. Book 2, Following Danger’s Path is soon to come out of the privacy of my own imagination. Hopefully by the end of summer I’ll be able to announce its release.

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Firefighting

Awake at 3:00 a.m. Fighting fire at 3:45 a.m.

You’ve all heard me talk about wild land fires and how oddly fun they are even though you’re risking your life, you are still serving people and doing something to better your community. The stakes are a little higher when you talk about buildings on fire.

This past week I was able to respond to a fire in the vicinity. It wasn’t in our department’s area, but it was close and it wasn’t long before they called us in for “mutual aid” at the unholy hour of 3:00 in the morning. Fortunately it wasn’t a house and nobody got hurt, but it was a string of businesses in Idaho City. It was a historical site for that matter which in this case means, there were not very many safety measures built into the buildings. Four businesses were nearly burnt to the ground even by the time we got there and the last was in bad shape.

It was amazing how much we could see in the dark, but there were several street lights and innumerable headlights shining on the buildings. The roof was plated with metal which is a good thing in snow/fire country, but they had only used the metal to cover up wooden shakes. The shakes were burning underneath the metal and most of the attic in the last building was ablaze.

Unable to reach the fire from the outside, and unwilling to enter the building without knowing if it was stable, we were assisted by a tractor in pulling the roof nearly off. The bucket ripped large holes in the roof and we were able to see live flame and smoke aplenty.

We dropped about 200 feet of hose between the truck and the fire hydrant so we had enough water to go around and we certainly needed it as our truck only carries 500 gallons. We had one hose stretched out in front of the truck and we could cover the entire front, side and back of the building with it. There was another truck from another department covering those three faces as well and when the tractor started ripping the roof off, we two crews were able to get good angles on the holes to put out the fire.

We worked thus until about 6:00 when the flames began dying down and the cool of the morning took over the job for us. Weather is a large factor in fire and the cooler the air is, the cooler the fire is and the less it takes to put it out. By this time local businesses had started serving coffee and breakfast sandwiches, something we all desperately needed. Not being a coffee drinker on an ordinary basis, I was quite pleased for the caffeine boost to help me along.

After breakfast we started ripping into the buildings by hand to put out what was left of the fire. Only small pockets remained, and we were careful to watch our surroundings anytime we came onto the board-walk or inside the buildings. There was an endless supply of nails on the floors and sticking out of boards, metal and walls so we had to be careful about foot placement, where we stood, where we sprayed water, where we did anything.

The thought of spraying water reminds me, the structure nozzles are powerful and pushed me around pretty good. In my own defense, I am not a very large person, but even the guys on the department were manhandled by the water. A 2 1/2 inch hose-line can push a lot of water and it can be remarkably heavy. Any movement at the nozzle affects the entire hose and if you’re holding on behind the front-man, you can get pushed by him turning the hose on and off.

With only a maximum of two hours of sleep under my belt, I was glad to quit at 8:30 and make for home. The fire was out and it was down to mop-up and salvage. We were not the local department so they cut us loose and we were able to go home.

As a closing thought, there is nothing quite like a structure fire. Nothing compares to its spectacular showing, but then nothing compares to the awful destruction either. Four businesses were destroyed in a small town, four businesses that depend largely on summer traffic and you can guarantee they won’t be getting that. There was next to no salvage and the proprietors were left with a heap of ashes for their hard work.

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