Tag Archives: fire danger

Exercise’s Unexpected Benefits

Today’s blog is going to be short.  I can’t waste a moment.  I’m on a roll, and I don’t want to interrupt it for too long.  That being said, here’s what’s happened,  and it’s still early!

It’s just possible that I should get up at 6-ish a.m. and exercise every day.  (Thank you, husband…)  Seems to stimulate the brain and the imagination.

After a brisk (by my definition) walk, I returned to fix coffee and an English muffin (with healthy sugar-free peanut butter).  I sat down to read my email, which is normally a tedious task comprised of culling the horrid from the merely bad.  Imagine my surprise when the first item I opened was a gem!

After five weeks of not-so-patient waiting, I received an answer from someone who had promised to help me with technical details I needed for the WIP. Now, I fully understand that one can find any answer on the all-knowing WWW; however, mine is a particularly esoteric question.  I needed to know, specifically, how Texas Hill Country animals react to and escape a wildfire.  So, this person’s knowledge was particularly valuable to my story.  (Just because my middle grade books are Texas animal tall tales does not mean they can’t be fact-based!)  Honestly, I was beginning to think I might have to find another expert.  Not an easy task when the nearest town’s population is just over 4,000!  Her email arrived just in time.  So glad it finally did. I wasn’t looking forward to hours of googling and binging.

Shortly thereafter, I discovered more answers to questions I had asked of another person…and there they were, just waiting for me in my virtual inbox. Wonders never cease!

While riding this informational ‘high,’ I started working on a chapter of the book that’s been troublesome. Not today! Breezed right through it! The plot came together. The words flowed. The characters knew exactly what to say. Astounding!

So, it just made sense that I take advantage and get the blog done, too.

News Flash!  I am so looking forward to my “blog swapping/tour” (well, that’s what we’re calling it!) with Kris Yankee, author of Saving Redwind: A Wallpaper Adventure. I’ll be interviewed on her blog on Monday, August 29th and Kris will be here on my blog Wednesday, August 31st. Kris is an interesting, talented, multi-dimensional person, and her book is awesome! (If you’d like a quick sneak peek: http://www.facebook.com/BooksbyKrisYankee)

One more recent good thing! Seems they just don’t stop today! Although I’ve known for months that I was going to be a grandma again, we just found out on Thursday that the expected baby is a boy! Hooray! Another grandson! Can’t wait!

Good things come to those who…exercise??

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Filed under Marginally Personal, The Business of Writing

Collaboration Coup

Amazing! (Yes, I know…another exclamation mark. I’m trying to quit…really!) Yesterday I got an unexpected offer from an unanticipated source. And, how fortunate for me.

We live in a rural area of Texas, on 17 acres of land that’s in the middle of a serious drought. Lakes are shrinking; people with lakefront property own docks that are now 75 feet from the water. (I’m delighted that we didn’t buy lakefront!) For the 4th of July, numerous fireworks displays were cancelled and the sale of firecrackers, etc. was banned. The reason behind all of this? Wildfire! We have junipers and cedars and dead wood and cacti and agave and dry grass that will go up like torches.

Enter the Texas Forest Service and their local representative, who came to our property yesterday to do a fire danger assessment. (We passed with very few suggestions, mostly because our home is stone and Hardy board, and we have no foundation plantings.) This woman was a font of information, prevention, and overall helpfulness. After an hour surveying our acreage, she concluded that our biggest problem was not having a straight driveway for easy firetruck access.

While we were taking an iced tea break from the 102 degrees outside, she asked what I did with all my spare time. I told her I write children’s books, and she wanted details. I went on to describe the books as Texas tall tales involving animals and gave her a little synopsis of my published book.

This is one of the few times in my life I can say, without fear of contradiction, that I actually saw someone’s eyes light up with excitement. “Have you considered doing a story about wildfires?” she asked.

“Funny you should ask. My husband and I were just discussing that the other day. Wildfire in the Hill Country and Moochie Mockingbird rescues some trapped animals.”

The Forest Service specialist immediately said, “You’ve got to do that story. Kids need to know that firefighters don’t just sit around in red brick fire stations all day polishing the big red truck. They don’t wait for the Dalmation dog to jump up on the front seat of the fire engine. They don’t just go screaming down the street with the siren blasting.  Kids don’t have a realistic view of what firemen really do and how dangerous fire can be! Please write that story!”

Now I’m excited. She has given me her email and phone numbers and promised me all the information I can consume about wildfire in Texas, what firefighters do, etc. I can’t wait to talk to her!

I also received a “push in the right direction” from a fellow author on LinkedIn. He asked if my books have a strong environmental message. Well, they do NOW! And that theme will mesh nicely with the books in my head that are waiting to be written.

As I said at the beginning, collaboration comes from unexpected sources. And I’m very grateful for it. Believe me, when the books and stories are published, I will give credit where credit is due.

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Filed under The Business of Writing