Hold and Improve is a fire-centric book of short stories, poetry, storied quotes, and artwork derived from wildland firefighters, past and present. If you would like to enter a submission for an upcoming volume, please read the content of this page in its entirety.

Submission Rules:

  1. Submitted content must come from a person who is now, or has at one time been a wildland firefighter (this includes secondary fire positions, such as dispatch).
  2. Any submission that is disparaging to any group/type of people including other entities in fire will be discarded.
  3. The story submitted must be true, and it must be a first hand account (with the exception of fire folklore submissions).
  4. Story submissions must be 2,500 words or less (preferably less). Fireline quotes may use up to 250 words to add context to the quote.
  5. The use of a pen name is acceptable for publication, but not for the submission.
  6. While traumatic stories are impactful and important, there are other outlets to highlight those stories and therefore, we ask that you do not submit traumatic stories.
  7. Similar to #5 there are many outlets for stories about leadership, development, frustrations, and complaints, but there aren’t very many that celebrate the camaraderie of this profession. That is the main driving force behind Hold and Improve. Please make your submissions with camaraderie in mind. 
  8. Ego driven stories will be placed at the very bottom of the submission stack.
  9. If people other than the author are named in a story, they must provide written approval for use of their name for publication or the author must use an alias. 
  10. All submissions are provided voluntarily, not for monetary gain.
  11. Not all submissions will end up in a volume of Hold and Improve. Each volume will be crafted with the best compilation of stories possible, unfortunately, not every story will be a good fit. You will be contacted if your story is selected.

Not a good writer? That’s okay. If you have an incredible story to share, we can help you get it on paper. Although the preference is a written submission, we will accept audio recordings of your story as a submission. 

Submission Details and Deadline:

Volume Bravo submissions will be accepted between December 1st, 2022, and January 15th, of 2023.

Submission Categories: Short stories, poetry, fireline quotes, and artwork.

It would lessen the work on our end significantly if submitters use Grammarly or a similar program that can assist with spelling and punctuation prior to submission. 

For audio submissions please use Voice Recorder or a similar app to share your story. 

Fill out this form prior to sending in your submission: https://forms.gle/7ceA1tUg1ZF7iHCC7

Please make sure you have thoroughly read the submission rules, then send your submission via email to: theevolvingnomad@gmail.com

Guidelines for Selectees from Previous Volumes of H+I

Congratulations on having been selected for a previous volume, and thank you for your contribution. As a previous selectee of Hold and Improve you may still make a submission for an upcoming volume. However, preference will be given to submissions from folks who haven’t yet had that opportunity. This helps to ensure that many voices from within the fire community are shared, rather than just a select few. If you decide to make a new submission you may consider choosing a different medium. For example, if a short story of yours was published but you are also an artist, you may want to make an art submission for an upcoming volume. 

Submission Topics:

Your story is not required to fall into one of these categorieshowever most fire stories seem to fit into one of these categories

Rookie Move! Offer up your embarrassing rookie moments that had folks shaking their head and/or laughing at your expense. (We’ve all got em’!)

My First Fire: Everyone remembers their first fire, some are crazier than others.

Photo Submissions of Original Artwork: Artwork will be printed in Black and White Only (Charcoal, Chalk, Pen, Marker, Pencil Sketches, Watercolor, Cartoon Graphics, etc.)

Poetry: Poetry specific to aspects of wildfire.

Our Culture: Examples: The legend of Big Ernie, the history of “The Big Flip”, the story of Ed Pulaski, unique traditions on your crew, etc. (If you provide stories that are historical and/or legend, please let us know where you sourced your information. An old salty firefighter is considered a valid source in the fire world… maybe you are the salty old firefighter and you can source yourself! ) 

Old School: Stories from the days of old school firefighting before smartphones, map apps, Jetboils, or even GPS!

Animal Encounters: Wild stories dealing with wild animals.

Woah… That was intenseUnreal, unbelievable, but true.

Holy Shit! I can’t believe that just happened!: Everything was normal and then…

Funny: The funniest moments on the fireline.

We were on our way when… From being redirected to other incidents, to rigs breaking down en route, or getting hung up by a cattle drive, etc. all sorts of things can happen when you’re on your way…

Fire Camp Mayhem: Sometimes you just can’t make up the types of things that happen in fire camp.

Aviation-Related Stories: Whenever you get aircraft involved the level of intensity gets turned up a notch and all sorts of crazy things can happen. Puking can happen too… lots of puking.

How I met my spouse on the fireline: Did you meet your significant other on a fire? Let’s hear about it!

Fireline marriage proposals: Did you manage to sneak in a wedding proposal somewhere between IA and mop-up?

Pregnant on the Fireline: There are few women in the “pregnant on the fireline” club but each one of them surely has an awesome story to share.

Random: We can’t think of everything… submit fire your story that somehow falls through the cracks of all of these topics.

Additional Submissions:

Tips, Tricks, and Tweaks: Think about all the hacks you’ve come up with in your fire career and share the best one.

Earth Friendly Practices in the Fire World: Share your tips with the rest of the fire community.

Now you know: Explain how to identify certain tree/plant/fungi species in the wild, etc.

Moonlighting: Wildland Firefighters tend to have many skillsets and talents, and some end up throwing their energy into a side business. Submit a blurb about yourself and your side business, we may just highlight you in a volume of Hold and Improve.