Do you love small town romances, second chances, firefighters and photography?

I took this photo when I was driving home. The color was so amazing I had to pull over and snap it.

Does a beautiful sunset, a cute baby or a wild animal grab your attention?

Back in the day, when I was in college, I took a couple of photography classes. Things were more complicated then. I carried a single-lens reflex camera and a couple of different lenses wherever I went. But as a student, my biggest problem was the cost of the film and then the processing. I didn’t have the option of setting up a place to process the photos myself. However, I remember my time looking for the right angle to take the perfect pic with my old camera and I have to smile.

Now, I have a smartphone that fits in my pocket. It’s great, even though, it can’t give me all the options I had with my SLR. When I go for a walk, my trusty cell phone comes too. I search for the perfect light and opportunity and then click.

A butterfly stopped by to checkout my Lobelia

Sometimes, I’m amazed by the photos of professional and amateur photographers. I wonder how they got that lovely, weird or wonderful shot.

This is the first photo I took on my cell phone.

When I was thinking about the main character in the fourth Sierra Creek Series book, My Country Heart, I got the idea to somehow use my love of photography. So, the new Fire Chief in the small town of Sierra Creek, is an amateur photographer. He uses the hobby as a way to relax from his stressful career. In the book, he is taking pics of flora for a calendar with the proceeds going to the burn fund for the Firefighters.

What are your hobbies? Please leave a comment at the bottom of this post.

Excerpt: My Country Heart Sierra Creek Series By Reggi Allder

Meet firefighter Chance Williams and jewelry designer Lauren Walsh. They are new in town.

Lauren pushed her sunglasses to the top of her head and squinted toward a grove of oaks. There would be shade, but didn’t wildflowers love full sun?

Something moved in the tall grass. Snakes? She jumped. Jake had warned to be aware of rattlesnakes. They were cold-blooded and enjoyed bathing in the high temperatures on a hot day.

With her dark glasses in place, she stared in the direction of the shifting grassland. A man lay prone on the ground appearing to focus on—what?

Too far away to find out, she moved closer. Chance, a single-lens reflex camera in his hand, seemed not to notice her arrival until she unwittingly cast a shadow.

“Hey, you’re in my light.”

She moved and he took the shot, then swung into a sitting position and glared.

“Oh, I thought you were someone else.” He scanned her, and a desire to touch him passed through her.

“Sorry. What were you photographing?”

“A Lupin. They grow all over this place.”

She must have had a blank expression because he said, “A flower.”

He handed her one.


“Lupin a genus Lupinus of leguminous herb. It means wolf.” He hesitated. “Lauren, if you could see yourself.”

“Well, I’m shocked. I thought it would mean something about the shape or the blue color of the blooms.”

“That would make sense, but how often does life follow a logical path?” He chuckled.

“True, but…” She shrugged. “Still, it gives me an idea for a brooch. You aren’t kidding me about the name—are you?”

“Nope.” He stood and brushed off his well-worn jeans. For a second, she found it hard to take her eyes off him. Her glance ran up his body to his pecs, covered by a grey long-sleeved T-shirt, and they flexed.

He picked up his backpack and shoved the camera into it. Without talking it over, they walked toward the shade of the trees.

“Chance, how do you know so much about flowers?”

“My mother is a botanist. She loves indigenous flora.” He adjusted the pack. “When I was a kid, she dragged me all over the Sierra Mountains while researching and cataloging plants. She wrote a textbook that’s still used in universities.”


He handed her a bottle of water from his bag.

“Thanks.” She took a sip. “But you’re a firefighter. Right?”

“Fourth generation, my dad, granddad and great-granddad.”

“Nice to have footsteps to follow.”

“Can be, but…” Chance frowned. “Do you have a list of flowers you’re trying to find?” He changed the subject and she had the sense she had touched a nerve.

“To tell the truth, I don’t know a thing about flowers or gardening. Most of my life I’ve lived in a high-rise building near the freeway and never thought about plants, except to buy them at the supermarket.”

“Then what brings you out on this hot day?”

She took a gulp of water and told him her plan to find a theme for her new jewelry designs. Spewing out her heart’s desire to make something important that would become an heirloom to be passed on from generation to generation, she couldn’t stop talking. She was saying too much, but Chance listened so quietly it was easy to continue.

To her relief, he didn’t pass judgment on her goals. Instead, he offered a couple of flowers on the property she might like to view.

Naturally, she was aware of the orange poppy. “Chance what is this pretty yellow flower?”

“A California Buttercup, Ranunculus Californicus. Here, let’s see if you like butter.” He held one of the little blooms under her chin.

“What are you doing?”

“If your jaw turns yellow, you like butter—yep, you do.”

She laughed. “That’s silly, but yes, I do.”

“Lauren, didn’t you do this as a kid?”

“Uh, no.”

“Oh, a deprived childhood.”

“Shut up.” She laughed. “What was the name again?”

“Ranunculus…” He stopped. “You can say, buttercup. Most people realize what that is.”

She sketched a quick copy of the small plant and took a photo with her smartphone. She bet it wouldn’t be as detailed as his close-ups, but it met her needs.

He offered a chicken salad sandwich packed from Sophie’s ice cream shop and she took half. “Thanks.”

Sitting on a log, they shared their impressions of Sierra Creek. As they both came from a city, they had similar responses and fell into easy conversation.

“Do you always take photos of flowers?”

“I’m shooting them for a calendar. The profit goes to help burn victims recover. Every year there is a specific topic. This year’s subject is wild flora.”

“Could I take a look at your camera?”

“If you want.”

She clicked through the pics and with her peripheral vision she saw him lean against a tree trunk. With his long legs in front of him, he crossed his muscled arms across his broad chest and closed his eyes. Even in repose, he exuded strength.

My Country Heart Sierra Creek Series by Reggi Allder

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6 Comments Add yours

  1. Hey, Reggi. Oh, my goodness what an amazing pic. And yes, it does make me think of fire. I love to take pics with my cell phone, too. So easy and I always have it with me. And when you see beautiful scenery or wonderful creatures, I just have to snap. Loved this book. Everyone should check it out. I shared. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Reggi Allder says:

    Thank you, Marsha! ❤️


  3. Pat Amsden says:

    That’s an absolutely gorgeous shot and your book 📕 s a perfect book to read while drinking a nice, cool drink.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reggi Allder says:

      Thank you Pat! ❤️


  4. Vicki Batman says:

    That color is stunning. All of my stories and books are set in a small town, Sommerville. Fun!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Reggi Allder says:

      Vicki, thank you! ❤️
      Small towns are a great place to set novels. I like having reoccurring charters appear in the town of Sierra Creek. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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