Thursday, January 31, 2013

My Interview With Fire Station 30

I don’t know where to begin with my trip to Fire Station 30. Arriving at the fire station, I pulled into the drive only to see the doors opening and the Battalion Chief’s SUV leaving. Ashley and I were almost disappointed thinking the interview would be canceled. When the two other trucks (which I was told is the wrong definition for these huge machines on wheels) stayed in the bay.

We were escorted inside and introduced to a group of fireman playing a board game. Yes, a board game. There was a television, but I did not see any video games units or any firemen sitting at a computer or using any other type of electronic devices. The firehouse was clean for it to be occupied by a group of men, and they all seemed to be getting along famously.

I was so nervous going into this interview. I didn’t know what to expect of Lt. Dean Murad because I had only spoken with him on the phone. When he arrived to greet me, I was surprised to meet a handsome, extremely polite and charming man who has been on the job for 25 years. Once Lt. Murad started to talk, my nerves calmed down and I relaxed to do the interview; that’s how comfortable he made me feel.

The room we conducted the interview in was the control room. He went on to explain the different transmissions going over the radio, and if the red phone went off, we would be going on a run; unfortunately it didn’t happen. He did say most of their runs happen at night.

He was not shy about answering any questions or parting with any information he thought I could use. And thank goodness for that because some of the information I had was so wrong. He explained the operation of the Pumper and the Ladder also referred to as the “apparatus” and the tools they use to extract victims or to check for hotspots in walls or roofs. My god, I didn’t know there were so many different ladders or different types of hoses used.

I’m probably going to get a lot of ‘rolled eyes’ when I say this but, being a firefighter is definitely a man’s job. I can’t imagine why women would want do to this job. Firefighting is a physical job and to handle the situations faced inside a burning structure and the physical strength it takes to carry a victim or all that heavy equipment that has to be hauled up stairs or over structures is something different. Generally most women who would apply for this job would be in excellent physical shape, but aren’t built to handle the type of physical strength needed to be a firefighter. This is one job I would say let the men handle.

The firemen stationed at this particular firehouse are often referred to as Supermen. Jerome "Jerry" Siegel the co-creator of Superman lived not far from the station back in the day. Since this firehouse is very active and has achieved many awards over the years, the station has a reputation of being occupied by supermen and has a “Superman” symbol posted outside the door. Their fire hoods have the Superman logo imprinted on them and after hearing some of the stories, I agree they are supermen.

This fire station is also not located in the best part of Cleveland but these firemen are respected by the neighbors and they in turn look after the neighbors. While listening to some of the medical runs they respond to, I found myself shaking my head. The calls they must respond to are sometimes hilarious. Fireman Gordon told a story about responding to a stabbing victim that had me rolling and Fireman Steve told of a touching story regarding an elderly couple married for 62 years. I think I will save those stories for a book I’m planning based on the men I met today at Fire Station 30.

Public Service Announcement:

What I’m about to say is just my opinion and is not meant to demean other professions. But people in the City of Cleveland that are blessed to be employed or have steady income should pay close attention to levies that are presented when it comes to the Fire Department. These men and the few women who risk their lives to save a life should be equipped with the best technology and equipment on the market. Cleveland is a big city with a lot of residents. Sure the economic lines are drawn depending on which part of the city you live. The Westside of the city may be better off in some areas and residents are more apt to take care of their property causing less fire emergencies, but that division should not matter when it comes to who gets what. The suburbs do not fight half the amount of fires that the City of Cleveland does yet they are housing all the latest equipment and newest engines that might only respond to one or two runs that actually pertain to fires out of a week.

If there is a fire and lives are in jeopardy, Cleveland firefighters should have the equipment necessary to do their jobs. With better equipment and replacing outdated equipment, such as radios with earpieces for their helmets, communication inside burning structures could easily be transferred and maybe save more lives. I don’t have the statistics on this and I am only using my theory, but I’m just asking Cleveland residents to think about it.

To clarify that I am not saying this just because I spent time with these men today and listened to the woes they face with equipment failure, but I have been a victim of a fire. I would not be here today or two of my siblings if it weren’t for firefighters. I respect these men, and out of all the service departments I’ve interviewed, they were the most willing to talk to me about everything.

In my closing, when the other guys joined us at the end of the interview, they were so happy and alive. One can only imagine what they feel after battling a house fire or responding to unstable individuals that bring harm to the innocent, and are not able to save such victims. Lt. Murad touched on that and said in order to deal with it, they have to talk about it; it can’t be kept in or it would tear them apart; after all they are human first.

Just like we look forward to our weekends, their days off are spent unwinding by throwing back a few beers or engaging in fun with friends and family like the rest of us, but unlike the rest of us, these guys don’t leave when the clock strikes 5:00, and can’t hit a happy hour bar to take the edge off. They stay on their shift for 24-hours and sleep with one-ear open waiting for that next call whether it’s a working fire or an intoxicated man that’s fallen out his bed.

I want to thank Fire Company 30 for a great interview and being so open and honest about what you do. I appreciate you and go to bed knowing if I need you, I know I’m getting the best. God bless you all.

Firefighter's of Station 30

Otto, Lt. Murad, Gordon and Steve

Ladder -30

Ladder-30 and Lt. Murad

Cockpit of Pumper 30

Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Random Excerpt from Smoke & Fire

“Gabrielle, don’t try an’ scare me away before we get started. I’m not asking you to run down your history to me. I work a lot too. Since I’m single, I volunteer to take on extra shifts for guys that have families—so I know how it is to work a lot. As it is, my hours are different. It seems I’m at the fire house more than I am at home.”

“How have you been dealing with being on medical leave the last few weeks?”

“I’m dealing with it better than I thought. I didn’t realize I was exhausted physically. The time off has recharged my batteries and given me time to catch up on stuff just sitting around collecting dust.”

“My vacation is coming this Spring and I can’t wait.”

“What are you going to do on your time off?”

“I have brochures stashed in my drawer at work of Jamaica and Montego Bay. I want to go lie on the beach of either of those places and do nothing for seven whole days.”

“Are you alone basking on either one these beaches?”

“I am alone since I never make it past my probation period of three months for dating.”

“Your problem is you’re not dating the right type of man.”

She propped her chin on the backs of her hands. “Here we go—you’re going to say, you are the man I should be dating.”

He raised his eyebrow and clicked his tongue to say, “In a nutshell—yup.”

“How do you know that? We could be different as night and day, Jonathan. I won’t dispute the attraction is strong, but once that has lifted what if there is nothing left underneath?”

He scooted the chair away from the table throwing the napkin on the plate. Taking the few steps to where she sat, he reached a hand out to her. Gabrielle took it not knowing what to expect. Her pulse kicked into high gear when he drew her near. She could smell his scent; feel his breath on her forehead. She wanted him more than any man she’d ever encountered in her adult life.

“Do you trust being alone with me?”

Her mouth was dry with anticipation. “Yes.”

“I’m opening myself up to you. Do what you want with me, Gabrielle.”


“I want you to do whatever is on your mind to me. If you want to throw juice in my face—then do it.”

“I’ve never heard of doing anything like this. Is this a test of some sort?”

“You’re being apprehensive. You have already warned me about your failed relationships so I’m giving you the opportunity to do whatever you want to me and walk away. But, if you come back, then, I know there is more lying underneath to be explored.”

“You’re crazy and I’m not doing this,” she said huffing.

“Admit you’re scared there might be more and you don’t want to face it.”

“I’m not scared of anything. I didn’t get where I am by being scared to take chances.”

The glaze of his hazel eyes never left hers. He concentrated on the actions running through her head. He could almost hear her thinking. Gabrielle stood frozen to the floor. She’d gone tit-for-tat from day one with him, and now she had him on her territory and at her mercy. Frowning, she bit her bottom lip. “I’m not apprehensive. You want to know what I really want to do to—well I’m about to show you!”

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

The Next Big Thing Blog Hop

Recently author Vickie McKeehan asked if I’d participate in my very first Blog Hop! After trying to figure out how to do this, I agreed to give it a try. I have to answer ten questions about my work in progress then tag other authors to do the same. Not only did it give me the opportunity to promote other authors, I’d get to share their links with you. So let’s get started.

What is the working title of your next book?

I actually have two works in progress but the one novel that is almost complete is titled Smoke & Fire A Firefighter’s Love Story

The story is basically a romance novel about Firefighter Jonathan DeMinico.  He is your normal handsome, strong and brave firefighter that loves to play the field.  Only in this instance he is injured fighting a fire and falls hopelessly in love with his respiratory therapist.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

I usually write about police officers or other law enforcement personnel in my thriller/mystery line of novels but lately I have been asked to do more romance.  So instead of using the normal boy next door or girl next door I went with a firefighter.   Women are usual the center character in these types of novels so I decided to do this one from a man’s POV (point of view).  Men can be strong but have a weakness also.

What genre does your book fall under?

Interracial Romance

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

John Stamos would be perfect for the part of the fireman and Halle Barry for the lead female.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

“I’m a fireman, if we get stuck, I will rescue you.”

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

Like my other books, self-published

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I would say I have been working on it for about a month now.  I had to talk with firefighters to get the terminology and routine of what their day is like around the fire house.  I’m still working on the manuscript.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I haven't come across any yet.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

It came from the heart. I respect all men and women in the service industry and like to write books about them.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

The opening action will suck readers in and the romance will want them wanting more.

Now that the questions are done, below are the authors I’m tagging so the blog hop continues. Make sure you stop by their blogs and get to know these talented individuals.
This has been so much fun for me I’d like to thank my friend, Vicki, for tagging me and asking me to participate. Please take a moment to stop by and say “hello” to her.

Amazon author page:

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Reality v. Reality

I made a comment about the Amish Mafia and was asked my views on some other popular reality shows on television.  I have to be honest; I refuse to watch any of these types of shows.  I won’t waste my precious brain cells watching idiotic housewives of any city make fools of themselves.  I refuse to watch the have-been, wanna-be, or might-be sport figure wives behave like tenth graders, nor do I care how many kids and their mothers are living under the roof of a one-hit wonder rapper.  I don’t care about the Bad Girls throwing themselves at men with fists full of dollar bills lapping in front of them to do whatever disgusting thing they can think of and this also goes for the Top Models that starve themselves to get a one-time contract to do a lipstick commercial and never be seen again.  Can any of these women honestly say after doing these shows the embarrassment was worth the bad press or further downfall of their careers?  I don’t think they can.

This is only my opinion and not meant to sway anyone.  I have never been a fan of reality shows starting with American Idol to the really bad tasting Best Funerals Ever.  I live reality every day and do not need the frustrations of watching others play their lives out on television.  I’m a very quiet person that lives a quiet life and most of the time drama free.  Watching those types of shows and all the arguing and fighting makes me wonder why the person being degraded or made to look foolish would return for another episode.  There is not enough money to have me lower my self-esteem to “step on me levels”.

Another thing about those shows is the majority of them consist of women.  Women carry the backbone of the family on their shoulders.  We are supposed to be strong and carry-on no matter the storm.  How can so-called strong women act so childish, bullish, and downright disrespectful and expect their daughters to learn right from wrong?  The actions being portrayed on these shows are teaching children to be bullies, or weak-minded depending on which personality is being spotlighted on whatever show.

Thank God, I am not important and no reality show will ever revolve around my life but if I was, and a production company approached me about doing one, I would not hesitate saying NO THANK YOU! None of that is entertainment to me. I’d rather turn off the television and read a book to be entertained by fictional characters that carry themselves in a better fashion.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Protecting Your Information

Well, I am knocking on wood because so far I have very lucky not to be a victim of hacking or identity theft.  Unfortunately, a few close friends of mine have not been so lucky.  In the era of online shopping and other activities we do using the Internet that require the use of credit/debit cards or entering personal information, we tend to search for sites that are secure and honor their word of not sharing information.

In the case of my two friends, they were shopping online.  How weird is it that both thefts took place outside of the United States.  For the one friend, her bank stopped the purchase because the bank found the purchase to be suspicious and contacted her to verify the purchase.  Luckily, she confirmed the bank's suspicion and the charges were denied and the card deactivated.

In the case of my other friend, the malicious charges were accepted by American Express and he didn't realize he'd been hacked  until receiving his statement with charges to iTunes for downloads of music he never would purchase.  I do shop a lot online but to help ease the fear of this happening to me, I use Paypal.

I have found Paypal to be a useful tool when shopping.  Paypal has expanded their services to many more retailers so that you can shop virtually anyplace.  I've had my account for many years but never used it until recently.  Being a small business owner, it has made my life a lot easier by using Paypal for my transactions with other small businesses also.  If I'm just using a service one time, I don't have to give my information to them but go through Paypal instead.

As a warning, if anyone does a lot of online shopping, take the few minutes to open a Paypal account to protect yourself while shopping.  

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Official Cover for New Book Coming Soon

Introducing Firefighter Jonathan DeMinico and Gabrielle King, a Respiratory Therapist.  Their story will be coming soon.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Welcoming 2013

We are in a new year and I promise to bring new stories.  I am currently working on two stories to be released this year.  Here is a sneak peek of the cover of my new Firefighter's story: Smoke and Fire.

Text 'Yes' If You Love Me Has Been Nominated for Cover of The Month for May. I Need Your Votes Please

If you liked the cover of my book, Text 'Yes' If You Love Me, please vote for it for the Cover of the Month contest on