Monday, October 5, 2009

Beginning of the End

I'm working on the last chapters in my book now, writing the gunfire-unveiling of revelation and the ending celebration of new life.

Approaching the end made me think about the beginning. I'm sharing it with my friends here, as it is in draft form:

Unusual late-August rains drenched the Texas Hill Country, sudden torrents pouring over arid limestone hills. Little creeks ran like rivers and springs bubbled in places no one had ever seen springs before. Runoff eroded hillsides, carrying waste into the Guadalupe River until the water turned dark all the way from the Kerr County hills through big Canyon Lake down to the Gulf of Mexico.

Upstream from New Braunfels, the water level rose daily behind Canyon’s earthen dam. Authorities responded by upping the dam’s release to 5,000 cubic feet per second. The cold lake-bottom water blasted into the river, gouging banks and limestone bluffs. Here and there, slabs of pale undercut rock crashed down, creating standing waves and troughs over new riverbed rock piles.

Warnings were issued. “Don’t drive through low water crossings.” Even so, the New Braunfels Herald Zeitung carried stories about people being rescued from trees in the stream. Authorities shut down all river recreation.

By mid-September the release rate was still over ten times the average, but authorities opened the flow to guided rafts operated by licensed operators.

One mild Monday morning a few days after the declaration, four women approached a scuffed blue rubber raft. As they walked the trail to the landing, they talked and laughed, held their faces to the sunlight filtering through thin flying clouds, and breathed in crisp air smelling of clean leaves.

A tanned young man in cutoffs, khaki fishing shirt and worn UT baseball cap greeted them, looking them over with a practiced eye. The silver-haired woman in a maroon sweatshirt had the carriage and stride of someone who wouldn’t stand for any nonsense. The others were younger, maybe mid-thirties. A slight brunette with a knock-out figure in a white knit shirt and skin-hugging jeans, a short, plump blonde with wiry curls escaping from a red bandana, and a long-legged brunette with a ponytail, whose red t-shirt stated “Life is too short to drink bad wine”.

“Hi, I’m Todd and I’ll make sure you have a good time today.”


  1. Kathleen, I am so impressed that I can't express it in words. It sounds real. I can see it. It is an honor to have a peek. Thank you.

  2. I love the way you establish tension immediately. We know something is going to happen. Does it involve the water and danger, or Todd, or all three? Do the friends all survive? Do they stay friends? I have a lot of questions! I'm with Sharon -- thanks for giving us a peek.

    One other thing: I especially like your layers of detail of the physical world. It really adds to the feeling of authenticity, and makes the reader feel they can trust you right off the bat.

  3. I forgot to say: what an amazing feeling it must be to be writing those final chapters. I salute you and I celebrate you!

  4. Read this twice, but got knocked off before I could comment. Off the computer that is.
    I cannot imagine what this must be like, coming to the crossroads of a dream.
    Can we pre-order?

  5. Sharon, Beth and Deb, your comments are sustenance. Thank you.

    I'm looking forward to the finish line but having such a good time writing this last section. It feels a little like writing a mosaic where all the bits of color join together into meaning.

  6. Thank you for sharing, Kathleen. I can just hear you saying these words. Beautifully woven together, as always. Love it!


My readers are all geniuses. Can't wait to see what you have to say.