|The Brazos River near Mineral Wells|
Friday, May 24, 2013
WATCH OUT FOR THAT QUICKSAND!
Most of us have read stories in which the villain or the protagonist is trapped in quicksand. My first encounter was in a Nancy Drew book, where she sank to her thighs or waist. Then, one of the villains in a Sherlock Holmes story died in quicksand. Since then, I’ve read other accounts—fictitious and authentic—in which someone became victim to the engulfing, suffocating medium.
I live in North Central Texas near the Brazos River and not that far from the Red River. As a child, we visited my grandmother just over the Red River into Oklahoma. I always wanted to stop and play on the river’s red sand and water. My parents talked of people, animals, even wagons being lost in the river’s sands. I had doubts, for I knew they didn’t want to take time away from our visit.
When my husband and I moved to North Central Texas, I heard the same tales of quicksand in the Brazos River engulfing the unsuspecting. The water appears tranquil and the banks firm. I have to admit I was a skeptic. However, now I’m a believer. I have a friend who is almost 105 years old whose mind is still sharp even though her body is betraying her. Let me share her parents’ story with you.
Her Dalton parents were married in Weatherford TX and lived there for a year with her grandparents. They decided to move to Mineral Wells, which meant crossing numerous creeks and the Brazos River. By this time, Mrs. Dalton was six months pregnant with their first child.
They loaded their belongings into a wagon and set out for their future home. When they reached the Brazos, Mr. Dalton drove the team across a low area. Suddenly, the horses started squealing and sinking. So did the wagon. Mr. and Mrs. Dalton were able to leap from the back of the wagon onto firm ground.
Unfortunately, the horses, wagon, and belongings sank into quicksand and out of view. All they salvaged were the clothes on their backs and a tiny bundle Mrs. Dalton grabbed as she jumped. The couple had to walk the fifteen miles back to Weatherford and the parents/in-laws. What a blow, but at least they survived and lived to raise a family of nine. Most of their children lived at least into their nineties and a couple passed the century mark.
Since my friend told me this story, I’ve heard of other families who had the same or a similar misfortune involving quicksand at the Brazos. One family cut the harness so the horses escaped, but lost the wagon. Another involved the wagon driver sinking into the quicksand while trying to free the animals. Being a pioneer was tough!
These stories caused me to speculate, as writers always do with any new kernel of information. Because I am somewhat claustrophobic, the mention of quicksand terrifies me. Even writing about the sucking, suffocating goo that swallows up indiscriminately creates shivers and a knot in my abdomen.
Since it terrifies me, I decided to use it in my latest series, Men of Stone Mountain. So far, two of the books mention or involve quicksand. If I have to be frightened, why shouldn’t my characters, right? (cue fiendish laugh) All three books also involve poison, but that’s another article.
The three Stone brothers are Micah, Zach, and Joel. These men are heroic, loyal, handsome, and want to settle near one another. They live in or near the fictitious city of Radford Springs near the Brazos River and in the real Palo Pinto County and Palo Pinto Mountains of Texas.
In the first of the series, BRAZOS BRIDE, Micah’s cattle are dying of thirst from the drought that has dried up all the natural springs and his tanks. Hope Montoya’s huge ranch borders the river, but she is being poisoned and fears she won’t survive without help. She and Micah make a deal that gives him land between his and the river in exchange for entering a paper marriage with Hope. While their union frees her of a guardianship, the wedding makes them both targets of the murderer’s escalating attacks. BRAZOS BRIDE is available from Kindle, Smashwords, Nook, etc.
Zach Stone’s story is HIGH STAKES BRIDE. Poor Zach has been jilted for the second time, this time by mail. He vows never to speak to another woman unless she is a relative. But then Alice Price crosses his trail. She’s on the run from her worthless stepbrothers who have wagered her in a high stakes card game with the meanest man in Texas. Zach thinks he has a plan to help himself avoid his brother’s ribbing about his lost mail-order bride and give Alice a place to hide. Zach changes his mind about the ease of protecting the event-prone Alice when one complication after another arises. HIGH STAKES BRIDE is available from Kindle, Smashwords, Nook, etc.
BLUEBONNET BRIDE is Joel Stone’s story. By this time, Joel is the Radford Springs Sheriff and keeps a safe town with his by-the-book law enforcement. He is quite smitten when widow Rosalyn Dumas and her daughter Lucy step off the stage. Lucy admires “Mister Sheriff” but Rosalyn wants nothing to do with the man who could destroy her new life. Back in Pearsonville in East she was convicted of murdering her husband and only escaped the gallows due to a tornado sweeping through town. Trouble always follows, doesn’t it? Joel fights to save the woman he loves from prison. BLUEBONNET BRIDE is available at Kindle, Smashwords, Nook, etc.
Currently, my work in progress is TABITHA’S JOURNEY, a novella about six foot six Bear Baldwin and his attempt to find a mail-order bride. Tabitha Masterson leaves her Boston home to escape a forced marriage to a man she despises and arrives in Radford Springs expecting to marry rancher Bear Baldwin. Or maybe not. Their story will be available very soon.
If you enjoy series books about the Old West, please give the Men of Stone Mountain a try. They are available in print and e-book from most online sources.
Thanks for stopping by!