Inez Kelley busts some stereotypes

Status quo…whoa! Guess not.

from Morguefile

from Morguefile

There are certain iconic images that just stick with us. They become the norm, the traditional, the standard and everything that comes later if the ‘new’.

Take for example, the fire engine. What color is it? Red, right? Even if your local station has trucks in a different shade, I bet RED was what you thought, the picture that popped into your brain. At one time, all the fire engines in America were red. It began simply enough as a product of funding. Most companies were volunteer and funded by themselves. Red paint was cheap. It became an iconic presence. It spawned a classic, well-recognized phrase – “fire-engine red”.

It was the norm once upon a time. Now, it isn’t. Although many are still red, there are more and more fire engines in banana-yellow, lime-green, blazing orange, dark green, white, black and every shade of blue from cobalt to baby. There are even a few in purple. What about a bubble-gum pink fire engine? Yep. They exist, too.

These different-than-expected shades do catch your eye because they are not what you EXPECT. Sometimes it is a safety concern, other times a station preference, sometimes just what the local volunteer company could afford. But your mind has been trained to think ‘red’.

Stepping away from the traditional image can take some getting used to but it isn’t hard or painful to do. You just have to accept it is what it is. What it has become. What is the new image.

Lumberjacks are also in that shifting image pattern. Say “lumberjack” and most people think gruff manly men with beards, suspenders and flannel shirts. Many think hard drinkers, maple syrup, and a big blue ox. This iconic image was twisted by Monty Python and his skit of “I’m a Lumberjack and I’m Okay” which began by embracing those stereotypes then morphed into cross-dressing. It was shocking and hilarious at the time.

That was then. This is now. So how has the lumberjack changed over time? Beards are more a thing of fashion now, not the weather protection they once were. Flannel is still worn although it typically isn’t plaid now and typically has given way to fleece and other warmer material. I’ve only met one suspender-wearing lumberjack in the nearly 20 years I’ve been around the timber industry and that man wore suspenders with EVERYTHING, even a suit. Hard drinkers? Some are. Maple syrup? Some make it, depending on their location. Big Blue ox? Never saw one, ever.

The stereotype exists but the truth has changed in the past 100-150 years. What hasn’t is the love of nature, the men in the mountains and the rock-hard muscles. I invite you explore more and read my Country Road series.

TAKE ME HOME – “Never has maple syrup sex more honestly earned its place in a romance novel.” – Tessa Dare

Take me home 300Logging manager Matt Shaw is wary when Kayla Edwards, the owner of Mountain Specialty Spices, hires his firm to harvest timber on her Appalachian property. It’s a place he knows better than the back of his calloused hand—it’s his family’s old homestead, lost years ago in a painful foreclosure. He’s hauled himself up from dirt-floor poor since then, and resolves to stay professional…but Kayla’s vivacious beauty makes it hard to focus on his job.

Home. That’s how army-brat-turned-foodie Kayla feels about her new mountain hideaway. What’s more, the hottest lumberjack ever to swing an axe has agreed to manage her timber crop and get the old maple syrup operations back on tap. Matt’s ruggedly sexy ways and passion for the land have her falling hard.

The heat between them grows wild…until Kayla discovers that Matt hasn’t been up front with her. She feels devastated and, worst of all, used. How can Matt prove it’s her he wants and not her land?

INEZ KELLEY was born and bred in the mountains of West Virginia. Although you can never take the hillbilly out of the girl, her lumberjack husband transplanted her to the Midwest along with their teenage drama queen, Spawnetta, and the Demolition Duo – Damien and his twin, the Omen.

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You can buy Take Me Home from Amazon or Barnes & Noble