Buzz Bernard

Buzz Bernard



By H.W. “Buzz” Bernard


I’m kind of a sucker for Christmas traditions: cold weather, warm homes with flames dancing in a fireplace, trees drooping with tinsel and lights, carols filling the air.  Thus, there are a couple of scenes early in BLIZZARD, my newest novel, that depict a Thomas Kinkade-like ambience in the suburban Atlanta home of my protagonist, J. C. Riggins.

I designed the bucolic, perhaps nostalgic, backdrops to provide a biting counterpoint to what happens to J. C. later in the book when he’s hurled into the teeth of a historic Southern snowstorm . . . and a few other things.  You know, outlaw bikers, characters who aren’t who they initially seem, and a pack of wolves (escaped from captivity).

But back to the Christmasy introductory settings.  Among other things, they’re developed against frigid conditions that bear “a touch of the Yukon.”  You may wonder if it really ever gets that cold in “Hotlanta” around Christmas.  The answer is yes, it does.  I’ve lived there almost three decades and remember plenty of chilly Christmases.  Often the day will dawn frosty with the mercury later struggling up only into the 40s.  Okay, you’re right.  Not quite arctic conditions.

But there have been such times.  Shortly before I arrived in the city, December 1983 delivered three consecutive days with single-digit lows: 3º on Christmas Eve morning, a flat zero on Christmas morning, and 5º the following a.m.

Just before Christmas 1989, I recall a stretch of four consecutive days when readings failed to top freezing, even during daylight hours.  Christmas Eve day dawned with the mercury sitting (and shivering?) at 4º.

These Christmas excursions into tundra temperatures aren’t common, of course, but I made sure they performed a curtain call in BLIZZARD.

And if you want to talk about really cold Christmases, let me tell you about Christmas Day 1980 in Boston.  It’s one I’ll never forget.  Perhaps it was stuck in the back of my mind as I wrote the holiday scenes for the novel.   At any rate, as darkness fell on Christmas Eve over eastern Massachusetts that year, temperatures were chilly but hardly cold, at least by New England standards.

The reading in Boston at midnight registered 32º.  That was prior to the arrival of screaming northwest winds (yeah, a major league cold front) that likely boosted the airspeed of Santa and his reindeer to around 400 mph.  Anyway, the mercury tumbled to below zero by Christmas morning and remained stuck there all day.  I’m certain that windchills dived into the 30- to 40-below range.  I know for a fact the temperature inside my condo that day never topped 59º.

That was a little too much nostalgia for me.

Hope you enjoy BLIZZARD.


Blizzard by H.W. “Buzz” Bernard is on sale for $1.99 today only! Click the cover below to purchase! Blizzard - 200x300x72

Tags: , , , , , ,