Drip Torch–an early love scene

Eileen Blocked by skyscraper ridges rising off Cape Mendocino, the Mad River veered north not far from Eileen’s base, meandered 70 miles through pines and firs into redwood country until finally emptying into the Pacific above Arcata.  He was waiting for her in the parking lot.  They climbed over a dune, stepped together onto the […]

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Drip Torch–goofy scenes

Want to meet some half-crazy characters?  The world of wildland firefighting will do just fine.  During the 1988 fire season the protagonists in my novel Drip Torch contend with tumbling boulders, falling trees, wild helicopter rides and of course fire, but they also encounter wacky crewmates.  Below is one example.  Eileen, the female protagonist, has been placed […]

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Drip Torch–Eileen’s first fire

Early in Drip Torch both main characters quickly encounter fires. For Eileen, it’s her first fire ever. She’s assigned a mopup shift in the Angeles National Forest on a makeshift crew from her home forest, the Six Rivers N.F. What follows are a few excerpts from this chapter. (Excerpt 1) Hunched over, Eileen trotted behind him […]

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The language of fire in Drip Torch

“They had learned to regard fire as a living thing, with nerves and a brain, a tenacity to survive.” Viewed even from afar, wildfire locks its talons into our primal brains. Scientific description cannot portray how the sight and the smell and the heat of rampaging flames usurp the sinews, commanding instinctual opposites, terror-driven flight […]

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Global warming means more wildfires

News articles, travel blogs and university studies marvel at Yellowstone’s recovery from the devastating fires of 1988, a prominent and significant setting in the novel Drip Torch–but human activity may ultimately undermine nature’s resilience. Today new conifers 18 to 20 feet tall crowd beneath black and gray toothpick towers that darkly remind Yellowstone visitors of […]

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Read an excerpt from Drip Torch

Grant Village, Yellowstone National Park: July 25, 1988 Ramirez had them up before daylight beneath a smoke inversion that blocked the stars and moon.  Shivering cold prompted them to eat breakfast pacing or standing and moving their feet to generate body heat.  Soon afterward as dawn disclosed an ashen gray sky, they found themselves in […]

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Sources and Thanks

Many resources and some superb input from firefighting professionals and others have contributed significantly to the writing of Drip Torch.  I had written earlier versions of this book during two different time periods, but beginning in 2013 I tackled this project yet again and by spring 2014 had completed another draft, one polished enough for […]

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Death, Sex, Meaning, and Art

As a whole, it seems that Americans increasingly equate artistic experience with adrenaline, whether from shock or gore or salaciousness or any other phenomena that provide a “rush.”  The screens must get bigger, pictures must astound with ever-higher definition, and the floor itself must rumble.  In books gore and sexuality must alternate graphically.  Otherwise the […]

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Hotshot Crews–Professionalism

Drip Torch is a work of fiction—any similarity to any particular person or crew is purely coincidental and unintentional.  Although today the “Mad River Hotshots,” a real-life crew based in Mad River, California, comprises an important part of the national corps of interagency hotshot crews, no such crew existed in 1988, the year in which Drip […]

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Drip Torch–A novel about wildfires

With minimal sleep, food, and water, try dodging boulders and falling trees, careening on helicopters through smoky turbulence, and approaching pines and firs exploding in flames, all to cut hotline on precipitous terrain. Add to those challenges having to confront attitudes about women while falling in love, and you’ve got my 85,000-word literary/adventure novel, Drip […]

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