Please welcome Barbara Bettis as guest blogger today.
Finding a topic for Fearless Friday was a little daunting—I’ve always considered myself boring. But then I remembered my days as a reporter for a small daily newspaper (the only daily in three counties, so we had a wide circulation.) A person can be fearless in physical situations, but one must also call up fearlessness in potentially embarrassing ones.
A small town is a microcosm of the world. That statement is a truism, but no less accurate. I covered stories that ran the gamut from traffic fatalities to bank robberies to murders. From hot air balloon championships to state Miss America finals to national political conventions. Every day was different.
One morning while I was preparing to cover an announcement from the area U.S. Congressman, a call came in about a fire at a well-known farm. I grabbed the camera and dashed to my car, estimating the time I had to make it to the fire, get details and photos, and get to the political meeting. I didn’t want to miss it.
Smoke from the fire was visible for miles. The farm was huge, the house sitting back from the main road. Leading to it were equipment barns, livestock barns, grain facilities, family vehicle garages and finally, the residence.
When I arrived, the sheriff and other law enforcement personnel were there, along with several fire vehicles, some at the house, some directing attention to the outbuildings. And an ambulance. I had to park a distance down a side road, then I grabbed my camera, slung over my shoulder a bag with notebook and extra film and lenses. (Yes, it was a few years ago J )
The house was ablaze, sending out visible waves of energy. Dogs were barking, fire hoses roaring, and Mrs. homeowner sobbing in the front yard. Downed powerlines lay along the ground, curling like huge black snakes. I’d covered enough fires to know power was always shut off immediately. Still, I didn’t want to tromp on them. I had on my heels, not having had time to change from my U.S. Congressman-meeting suit.
Already I was late for that gathering where I knew he planned a major announcement, so I ran to the house blaze, hopping on my toes into the empty spaces between the slick, fat lines. I got to the lady of the house, whom I knew, and began to speak with her. And I knew I couldn’t hurry this interview.
So I remained, taking a few photos but mostly talking with her until her husband arrived. At last I judged I could leave. I’d be late to the meeting, but I’d had no choice. Besides, I knew I could call his assistant for the details when I got back to the office.
Returning to the car in much the same way I’d come, I approached the downed lines, seeing the sheriff on the way. “Careful, Barb,” he called. “The electric company hasn’t come yet. All those lines are live.”
The mental image of the head-long hopping run I’d taken coming into the scene stopped me cold. All I could think of was what if I’d slipped, or carelessly tromped on one with a vagrant heel. The quarter-mile of hot lines suddenly looked like ten miles. I switched my route to the road, but more lines lay there. So very slowly and very carefully I picked my way back to my car.
I threw my material in the passenger seat and backed out, trying not to think of the live power lines I’d hop-scotched through—or of the local man who’d been electrocuted the year before when he stepped on a broken power line after an accident.
Fortunately no one was injured in the fire that day. But I had nightmares for a while afterward.
Oh, and the meeting? I was late. The Congressman and his assistant, a friend of mine, were still around, along with his Washington D.C. aides. Everyone else was gone. I got the story and a personal interview with extra facts, to boot.
As I prepared to leave, I again apologized for being late. “I was tied up at a fire,” I explained.
“I know.” He smiled. “I can smell it.”
I’d not realized the residual odor of the fire remained on my clothing.
What else could I do? I laughed and he joined in. He enjoyed reminding me of that incident afterward.
We authors must be fearless, too. Writing isn’t always a calm walk on a summer afternoon. Sometimes it’s jumping between hot wires, trying not to get burned.
I wish for my fellow authors and our wonderful readers a fearless year ahead. Thanks for joining me today.
My current fearless entry into the book world is The Lady of the Forest, a medieval romance with (no shock to anyoneJ) an HEA.
Say Hi to me at:
Here’s a peek at the blurb:
He must pursue his enemy; she must protect her people. Can their love survive the duties that drive them apart?
When her elderly husband dies, Lady Katherine fakes her own death and disappears into the forest with others escaping the brutish new lord. Determined to protect her people, she knocks the wrong man senseless. But Lord Henry isn’t an enemy, he’s the brother of her childhood friend. Although his tender confidence tempts her, she’s bound by duty.
Henry of Chauvere has found the one lady he wants for his own, never mind she’s tied him hand and foot. When he learns the king has ordered her to wed Stonehill’s ruthless new master, he insists Kate seek haven with his sister. But she won’t desert her friends. Henry vows to solve her problem, provided he catches a traitor before the threat from Kate's past catches her.
When a daring rescue compels Henry and Kate to join forces, their attraction grows into love. If only duty didn’t drive them apart.