Thank you for hosting me! It is a historic occasion. Today I’m crossing the finish line today for my first blog hop, so this is officially the end of the trail. Time to leave the wild outdoors behind and go inside for some hot chocolate.
But the end doesn’t have to be a sad occasion. It’s all a matter of perspective. Or as the dictionary defines it: A particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.
‘A way of regarding something’ is really what I wanted to explore in Winter’s Risk. At the beginning of the book, Alex and Martin have grudgingly reached a tense state of mutual loathing due to their conflicting opinions of how to manage the wilderness area, and they’re both content to never cross paths again.
But perspectives are tricky things, and the reasons behind them often lead to differing opinions no matter how passionate both men are about preserving nature. I challenged myself to write two men who had the same goals, but opposite ideas of how to achieve them. Both men have valid reasons to believe what they believe and act as they do, and both of them are convinced they are right.
But after Alex saves Martin’s life and they’re forced to spend a long, freezing night sharing one sleeping bag, they begin to explore the edges where perspective ends and reality begins.
Veteran park ranger Alexander Doyle is tracking a nuisance bear when he runs across obnoxious environmentalist Martin Ramirez. He and Martin have clashed before, when Martin and the protestors under his leadership ended a plan to expand the network of paved trails and improve accessibility. Given a choice, Alex would rather face the bear.
When the dangerous grizzly attacks them and Martin is gravely wounded, his only chance of survival is Alex’s determination to keep him alive through the night. But they’re stranded miles from any hope of rescue with the year’s first snowstorm coming in fast.
The excerpt is the scene when Alex is distracted from tracking a deadly bear by stumbling upon Martin, a self-righteous, mouthy, jackass. Martin’s opinion of Alex is, if anything, worse. It’s too damn bad they are so absorbed renewing their feud that they forget about the bear.
Alex’s lip lifted in a sneer. Fancy finding him all the way out here. For a moment he forgot he was trailing a bear that had already killed two people. He called out to the other man.
“It’s a little out of the way for a protest, don’t you think?”
He was gratified to see Martin jolt and drop his expensive camera. Pity he had a strap around his neck, and it didn’t plunge all the way to the bottom.
“What the hell?” Martin spun around and snapped right back, recognizing him immediately. “Doyle, it’s a free country. I can hike and take pictures if I want to.” He sounded rather petulant for a man pushing fifty, but he still acted like it was the 60s. Go flower power and all that crap.
Alex rubbed his shoulders against the tree, idly scratching his back. “I’m not after you, you big twat. Have you seen a grizzly? Two yellow tags?” He didn’t expect Martin to do something as civilized as help him, and he wasn’t disappointed.
Martin paused, considered his answer, and then jutted his chin out and glared. Alex had two decades of experience dealing with tourists, summertime volunteers, cheating boyfriends, and random idiots. Like the idiot standing in front of him. He knew he was about to hear a lie even before Martin answered like sugar wouldn’t melt in his mouth.
“No sir, Mr. Ranger, sir,” he said sweetly. “I haven’t seen anything bigger than a bird all day. Can I assist you further, Mr. Ranger, sir?”
“Don’t fuck with me,” Alex snarled, and walked to meet him on the edge. He could still see the girl’s mangled body if he closed his eyes. He jabbed a finger toward Martin’s chest, disgusted that he had ever bothered to ogle him from the treeline. It just wasn’t fair that someone so useless could have such a nice ass. Martin looked down at his finger and raised one perfect eyebrow.
“I don’t have time for your bleeding heart—”
The sharp crack of a stick breaking in the forest interrupted him.
“Shut up,” Alex growled, even though Martin wasn’t talking at that moment. He wheeled around to face the woods, rifle ready. “Just shut up. It’s here.”
I’m giving away a copy of Winter’s Risk to a randomly selected commenter on July 21. Instead of using a random number generator I’m going to liven things up and use my cat, the infamous Basement Cat. He’s a random number all by himself. To enter, just comment on this post or ANY of the posts during the tour. Each comment counts for an entry, so you could put the odds ever in your favor if you wanted.
A complete listing of stops on the tour is posted at my blog.
* * *
You can always find me hanging out on my blog
and as @AnyPennyH
, where I talk about beer and hiking just as often as books and movies.