I’m working on TEXAS WILDFIRE, my contribution to the 12-Alarm Cowboy collection which is up for preorder now. YAY! Here’s my cover and the set and a link! I’m so proud of it. The authors are: Cora Seton, Sabrina York, Lexi Post, Becky McGraw, Cynthia d’Alba, Delilah Devlin, Randi Alexander, Beth Williamson, Donna Michaels, Elle James, Paige Tyler and SABLE HUNTER – YAY! – that’s me!
And like all of my books, I have tried to give you reason to laugh, cry and get all hot and bothered. I love to include real life situations in my books like sorrow, heartbreak, violence, etc but after I do, I veer away from reality and always give my readers a Happy Ending. Why? Because that’s what we need. Real life is sad enough, so many times things don’t work out. So when I read, I want to escape, I want to have hope and let my dreams soar. That’s why my writing includes some tearjerker elements, but I will always let right prevail, love conquer all and reward my heroine for holding out for a hero. That’s the dream. That’s everyone’s hope, so I strive to deliver that to my readers.
In TEXAS WILDFIRE I write about a rancher who also is a volunteer firemen in his hometown. So many small places like where I’m from originally don’t have the funds to pay for a fire department, they have to have neighbors helping neighbors, men and women who will devote part of their time to providing an absolutely necessary service. Within that group of men and women will be those who can only answer calls and fight fires after work, and then there are those who will drop what they are doing and drive like a bat out of hell to the station, get their gear and go attempt to save a person’s home or work a wreck or save a life.
I have seen this all first-hand. I served as the Secretary-Treasurer for our hometown VFD for several years. And we worked hard, not only serving our community but fundraising so we could exist and have the gear our men needed to risk their lives. An unpaid, sometimes thankless, job like this takes a special breed of man to do. He has to be unselfish. He has to be able to put other’s needs ahead of his own. In TEXAS WILDFIRE, you will meet such a man. He’s not a perfect guy, because he’s in love with a woman who belongs to someone else. But he’s never made a false move, said not one word out of line. He has kept the love hidden and unrequited – until the day he finds out that she is in trouble and that everything is not what it seems. Then the hero has to be heroic, and stand up for someone who cannot protect herself. The backdrop is a Texas Wildfire to this love story so intense and hot that no one will come out of the blaze unscathed.
In an author’s life, inspiration comes from many places. In this case, the hero is inspired by someone I loved. The plot is not related to my memory, but the hero and his character, his outlook and his motivations are a direct recollection of the character and personality of a man who I will never forget. He was a big man, quiet and unassuming but strong and dependable. His chosen career wasn’t highbrow. He was a mechanic, always drove a sports car and could fix anything. Jerry was a country boy, never sought anything fancy or traveled great distances. When we would go to Dallas or Houston, he always would spy the golden arches of McDonalds and proclaim, “Well, we won’t starve.”
He was a smart man, not college educated but technologically savvy. I’ve seen him fix everything from a television to a computer to an RV. In my case, it didn’t matter what I needed – if it was help moving, something fixed, anything done, he was the first to volunteer. Jerry was someone I could always count on. But what I admired about him most wasn’t his talents or even his loyalty to me – it was his loyalty and readiness to come to the aid of anyone who needed it.
Jerry was a volunteer firefighter. In fact, he was our chief. I’ve seen him run into burning building and walk out with a child. I’ve seen him brave a plane in full flame to drag out the pilot before it blew. During his short life, he racked up a ‘save quota’ that inspired many. And I never saw him ask for a thing, not even a thank you.
When we learned Jerry had contracted cancer, we were devastated. Some doctors told him that all of the chemicals from the fires he fought had caused it. I don’t know about that, but perhaps they were right. He came down with pancreatic cancer, terminal. He died at M. D. Anderson at the age of 35.
I’ve lost many in my lifetime, but I think his death hurt me one of the worst. Not just because of what I lost, but of what the community lost. A hero.
After his passing, our small VFD put up a plaque with his name on it, they changed the name of the fire station to honor him. And the plaque was so fitting. I’ve been told that each day of our lives, we’re writing our memoirs, our eulogy, our biography – and of course we are. Our actions determine the legacy we leave behind. And the plaque that was hung in memory of Jerry, over the fire station door said everything about him.
I AM MY BROTHER’s KEEPER
Even as I write this, I cry. He lived unselfishly, putting himself at risk to save others. I will be lucky if my life means half as much. Gee, let me wipe my eyes and continue. Our series, 12-Alarm cowboys are about men who wear two hats – a fire helmet and a cowboy hat. I can’t think of two better types to mesh into one fantastic hero. And don’t worry, my book while it will capture the personality of this man I once knew, will have a happy ending, and it will be as hot as the fires they have to fight- and that’s a promise.
Next time, I’ll post an excerpt from TEXAS WILDFIRE – but today, I’ll just show off the cover and the preorder link. And thank you for being my friend.