Today Linda McMaken is stopping by! She's giving us the lowdown on how she came up with the "tractor" scene in her novel, Baer Truth! Be sure to enter for a ebook copy of Baer Truth and a cool book necklace!
The Tractor Ornament
Abby, my heroine in Baer Truth, has a little "tractor incident," that was inspired by her creator, me. Readers have asked me where this scene came from and I've lied, I've invented, I've shrugged, because I really didn't want to admit it came from a real life moment. So, here goes the truth, gulp.
As a young mom I was offered a job mowing area fields and roadsides by a local farmer, I'll call Bill. I was a country girl and did know how to drive a tractor, so how hard could mowing with one be? It was a great job. I could mow when I wanted, go home to the kids anytime.
Bill's idea of tractor mowing instruction was: "here's the tractor, it's full of fuel, flip this lever to engage the PTO and mow." With that, he went to his tractor and left me in the middle of a 400-acre field. I knew tractors, albeit smaller tractors. I was tough, I was woman, I could do this.
Starting the tractor - check - I got that. Using the clutch, that was a cinch. Engaging the PTO, piece of cake. Circling a tree – I so didn't get that.
I didn't pay any attention to that 7-foot wide bush hog trailing along behind me and it didn't exactly flow around a tree. I must have taken the lives of twenty trees with that bush hog before I realized what I'd done. Every new little sapling that had been lovingly planted was now only tiny spots of mulch in a vast field of grass.
When Bill came back to get me to break for lunch he stood beside those little spots of mulch, looked at me and said, "don't you know how to square off with a tractor?" Then he looked across the field I'd mowed and said. "Are you drinking or on something?"
I was aghast. "No! Why would you even think such a thing?"
"Get off your tractor, stand here, and look down that field." Well, there wasn't a straight row of mowed grass to be found. It seemed I was "tacking" to the right, and mowing in a very nice 30 degree arc. Bill shook his head, snorted and said. "Remind me to never let you plant my corn."
I told him I was being creative and making crop circles. My mowing became the stuff of morning coffee jokes at the local cafe where the farmers gathered.
Which however, wasn't as bad as what happened the following day.
We have a Renaissance Faire in the area where I live and we mowed the field where they park cars for the event. It's huge 200-acre field of scrub inhabited by rabbits, groundhogs and as I discovered, big-a** snakes. Seriously, there must be nuclear waste buried out there somewhere, because as I was mowing along, I saw this huge 100-foot long snake slither in front of my tractor.
Being a country girl, worms, spiders, bugs they don't bother me. Snakes however, well, that's an entirely different thing, and this reptile was out of my worst nightmare. The thing lunged toward the tractor, it's head rearing up like fanged coiled spring.
You should understand - I am on a big tractor that stands roughly six-foot above the ground, pulling a bush hog, a mower that is about seven-foot wide with multiple cutting blades under it. Yet when I see this Anaconda rear it's head (it seriously looked that big) I jumped to my feet on the tractor seat, screaming like one of those chicks in a bad horror movie.
It screamed so loud Bill heard me over two running tractors and came crashing across the field thinking I'd been swarmed by bees or was having a seizure.
I'm screaming, "Snake, Snake!"
He points to my bush hog and says, "Run over the damn thing."
I'm still screaming, shaking my head no, so he makes a pass in front of me trying to run over the thing and he misses it. The snakes head pops up, it's hissing, and jumping, and coiling up. By this time my screams are breaking the sound barrier because I know this snake on steroids is seeking me out and is going to bite me, squeeze me or whatever those wretched things do.
At this point, my tractor is plotting its own course across the field, with me half squatting, half standing on the seat screaming, and Bill is swiping back and forth trying to bush hog this snake, who is not about to be mowed over by anyone.
Suddenly, I came to a clanging stop against a metal farm fence post and was thrown off the tractor into a wet, gunk-filled ditch where a pack of hungry blood sucking mosquitoes and chiggers attack as though I was their last meal.
By now, performers and vendors at the faire were in the field, all dressed in Renaissance clothes
which made the day even weirder. They all look terrified as I'm sure they were thinking someone was being murdered in a horrific way right out of CSI. Bill was making circles in the field on his tractor, his head snapping around like it was on a stick trying to bush hog that snake, and I was trying to climb over the fence and shut off the tractor.
After repeating the above to my loving family they gave me a )(*()&) tractor ornament. Merry Christmas!!!
Be sure to check out Linda all over the web!
Linda is the Senior News Editor for Reader's Entertainment News, scriptwriter for COS Productions (booktrailers) and writes for many other print and online publications.
She is also the author of a humorous romantic comedy trilogy set in Wyoming. Her first book Baer Truth - Book One of the Three Baer's Trilogy (where a vegetarian punk rocker finds herself stranded in the middle of Wyoming beef country) was released last year to 5-star reviews. The second book in the series, Baer Necessities has also garnered 4 and 4 star reviews. She is also the author of The Granite Rose, an historical set in ancient Rome.
You can find Linda online at:
Baer Truth Booktrailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MaA8p65oOeo
Her books can be found at:
Desert Breeze Publishing: http://stores.desertbreezepublishing.com/StoreFront.bok