Smoke and Spots is back on the market. Another one of my previous best sellers, it is now available--on sale the first week--at JMS Books. If you missed this one in the past, it has a loveable dog, an endearing little boy and a couple of great fire fighters who get quite a blaze going between them. I wrote it to honor the volunteer fire fighters who serve in many small rural communities which otherwise would not have local fire protection and often not nearby EMT or first aid support.
My late hubby and I were involved with such a group for four years while we lived in Falcon, CO and I pay tribute in this story to a couple of people who were there when we were. There was a Judy who was small and spunky; her name was not Diaz but otherwise my description is not far off. She had a daughter who was one of our daughter's friends. The others I touch in composite.
Here is the cover, a link to the page at JMS and then a short excerpt.
Grady managed to keep the hose steady until Sully reached him. Together, they shot water into the nearest edge of the fire, watched the flames flicker and fall, but the upper reaches continued to burn and there was no way they could spray the water that far.
“I hope Sandy got through to the Forest Service. If they can hit the upper ridges with slurry before it gets too widespread, we can nip this sucker.”
Sully grunted his assent, twisting the valve to shut off the water, which had dwindled to a trickle.
They’d emptied both trucks. Grady knew he should send the
smaller one back for more water, but the fire had moved far enough
he doubted they could get water on it now. In a minute, they’d
gather tools and trudge up the hill to help Judy and her partners.
They dragged the hoses back to the truck and loaded them.
That chore done, they paused for a minute, assessing
their next move as they took a short break. The two of them
stood there, feeling the weight of frustration. Grady glanced
across the hose, met Sully’s keen hazel gaze and felt an electric
jolt all the way to his toes.
“We’ve actually got a lot in common,” Sully said after a
few tense seconds. “I’m thinking maybe we should bury the
hatchet. I’ll go first because I know I’m the one who’s made this
harder than it had to be. When you got the job I wanted worse
than anything I ever hoped for at Christmas, I was mad as a
scalded skunk and about as mean. I’m sorry. I realize now you’re
a lot better suited to be the chief, a real leader, than I’ll ever be.”
“I started to realize what the problem was,” Grady
responded, “so no hard feelings. I probably would’ve been just
as cantankerous if things were reversed. You’ve helped me a lot
in spite of everything, and I appreciate it. You’re a man I’m glad
to have at my back—anytime.”
Dropping his heavy glove, he held his hand out to meet
Sully’s. The next thing he knew he was enveloped in a hug, an
awkward one because of their bulky protective gear, but no less
evocative. He was a bit the taller of the two of them, but stood a
step farther downhill, which put them face to face. Sully’s
freckled mug was suddenly right there—close enough their
helmet brims clashed, close enough…
“I reckon the connection worked, eh?”
Ambrose came chugging up the track. Thank all the
powers, he yelled before he rounded the tanker. Otherwise, no
telling what he might have witnessed. As it was, Sully jerked
back like he’d been hit with a cattle prod, while Grady fumbled
with the handle on the nearest toolbox, needing anything he
could use to distract himself. Still, his voice sounded odd when
he answered the old man. “Yeah, it did. You and Bob did good,”