Find out the latest indie author news. For FREE.


Lori Hodges
Shaking in the Forest: Finding Light in the Darkness
Lori Hodges, author
What do you do when faced with trauma? Shaking in the Forest opens with a plane crash and ends with a life-threatening illness. At the age of twenty-five, Lori Hodges chose to make a career out of helping people during the worst days of their lives. She has spent the last thirty years in emergency services – first as a firefighter and paramedic and later as an emergency manager, helping to coordinate the response and recovery to disasters. It is through this work that she has come to see the beauty in tragedy. The most difficult times often teach us the greatest lessons, and our connections to others give us the power to face the unknown. It is through these relationships—whether brief or long-lasting—that we are able to step forward confidently into a new day. Bridging the lessons Lori learned as a paramedic with her own personal trauma, Shaking in the Forest brings light to the darkness, helping each of us find a way to thrive, even on our toughest days.
This insightful memoir explores life, death, and the lessons learned from trauma and chaos. As a paramedic and firefighter, Hodges (author of Sweet Twisted Pine) finds a way to shine light into the darkness of death and trauma as she shares the experiences, sometimes wrenching, from her childhood that shaped her beliefs, built life-long friendships, and taught her the importance of living life to the fullest. "This book started out as a series of stories I wanted to capture from my time as a paramedic,” she notes, but in the writing it evolved into something more: “a reminder about all the lessons I learned from the bad things that happen each day and the things we do to cope."

Recounting her childhood wounds of growing up with an abusive, alcoholic father, and her later brushes with near-death experiences, like a pulmonary embolism that caused a heart attack or her surgery for a ruptured duodenal ulcer, Hodges recounts, with candor and self-knowledge, how she moved from living and making decisions based upon fear to using her traumatic life events "to be better prepared for whatever may come.” Through patients, co-workers, family, and friends, Hodges explores "how the ripples of trauma" spread but also her conviction that there is always still beauty to be found in the world. That holds true even as her stories as a first responder touch on harrowing events, from search and rescues at plane crash sites to burning men running through traffic, and more "terrible days in people’s lives.”

With humor, hope, and raw honesty, Hodges explores those days, including stories of patients who recover and those who don’t, and her awareness of "that ticking clock" that looms over us all. "My time around death,” she writes, has “allowed me to build up my defenses against the horrors in our world." Readers will take away the resounding message that no matter what one endures, life offers the choice to hold out for hope until the last breath.

Takeaway: First responder’s memoir exploring darkness, trauma, and the hope in second chances

Comparable Titles: Tim Booth's You Called an Ambulance for What, Janice Hudson's Trauma Junkie.

Production grades
Cover: A
Design and typography: A
Illustrations: N/A
Editing: A
Marketing copy: A