Guest Post

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Sunday, May 21, 2023

You-all guys know . . .

cj Sez: . . .  that authors often include bits and pieces of personal experiences in their stories, don't you? I’ve included at least a small part of my life experiences in all of my stories. A couple of my favorite adventures are written into DEATH ON THE YAMPA. 

   You may have read about this before because I’ve told it many times, but let me tell you again a little backstory about my first-person research for DEATH ON THE YAMPA.

   Way back when I was a younger, more adventurous woman, and in the throes of a mid-life crisis, I spent five-and-a-half days on an Outward Bound, white-water rafting trip down the Yampa River.
   At 250-miles long, the Yampa—a lazy float trip struggling through low water in the summer months—surges to life when Spring melts the mountain snows and roaring water rushes boaters through awesome, sandstone canyons in Dinosaur National Monument.

  There were four huge, silver rafts in our Outward Bound convoy, each carried eight to ten people, and a flotilla of kayakers ran the biggest rapids ahead of the rafts and waited in the eddies downstream, ready to pick up anyone who had the misfortune to fall overboard.
  I traveled alone on this Springtime snowmelt trip, didn’t know anyone who was going to be there, had never rafted before, and what was even wilder, I didn’t know how to swim. (Still don’t.) Our rafts entered the Yampa River in Colorado and ended the adventure five days and seventy-five miles later in Utah.
  The Yampa trip turned out to be part one of my research.
  The following year, I volunteered to do a Jeep Jamboree off-road adventure on the Rubicon Trail in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range and write about it for my company’s newspaper. The Jeep Jamboree grades the Rubicon Trail as a 10 on a scale of 1 to 10 in difficulty for off-road enthusiasts.
  I joined two professional writers in a Jeep Wrangler that, like many of the Wranglers on the trail, had its doors and hard top removed and a skid plate welded to the undercarriage to protect the engine when driving over boulders.

  I was the only novice driver/writer in that Jeep, and I sat, mouth agape, when the driver ahead of us miscalculated and rolled his Jeep off the two-track, boulder-strewn trail. We waited until Jamboree trail guides rolled him upright and sent him on his way again. 

  We drove onto the Rubicon Trail from Georgetown, California, and drove off the trail above Lake Tahoe, the city that straddles the border between California and Nevada. After one night of bathing in an icy mountain stream and sleeping on a deflated air mattress in a pup tent atop a granite boulder, I was extremely happy to spend the next night soaking in a hot tub and sleeping on a slightly lumpy mattress in a hotel.
  Both of those trips became the inspirations for the settings in DEATH ON THE YAMPA as well as my personal essay, “Don’t Ride the Clutch,” published in CUP OF COMFORT FOR DIVORCED WOMEN. (The anthology is free on Kindle Unlimited at the time of this post.)

  To read more about the exquisite mountain settings I experienced, eBook copies (on sale for $2.99) are available on Amazon. Autographed paperback copies are available from The Haunted Bookshop (link provided below). 

  (If you’ll take the time to write a brief Amazon review, let me know. I’d love to send you a neat surprise gift as a please and thank you. Bribery anyone?)
  That’s it for this week’s post. You-all guys keep on keeping on, and I’ll try to do the same.

Little note: The Haunted Book Shop has signed copies of my books in stock. TO ORDER, contact:  Angela Trigg, the awesome owner and a RITA Award-winning author in her own right (writing as Angela Quarles) will be happy to ship you the book(s) of your choice, mine or any other author.

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  1. A most interesting post about your experiences, Cj.

    1. cj Sez: Thanks for stopping by, Robbie, and for taking the time to comment. I loved writing those two stories, but my favorite is the short story that is in Chicken Soup for Divorced Women.


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