The Purgery

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A Reading from my Novel in Progress: River of the Arms of God

At long last, I have settled on a title for my novel: River of the Arms of God. The book is still a work in progress, but I plan to complete the draft by next spring. Between now and then, I will continue to provide updates on my learning process as I go through the motions of writing, editing, publishing, and selling a novel.

The River of the Arms of God is an actual river, so named by early Spanish explorers “el Rio de los Brazos de Dios,” that cuts 840 miles south across the state of Texas and empties into the Gulf of Mexico. These days, people simply call it the Brazos River. The bulk of my novel’s drama occurs upon the banks of the Brazos, and the story centers around a plantation population that relocates from Christian County, Kentucky to the Texas Gulf Coast in the early 1830’s. In the years that follow, they witness the evolution of Texas as a U.S. immigrant colony in Mexico to a full-on state in the Union. In the foreground are an enslaved servant,  a deist planter, a “fallen” southern belle, and an orphaned Karankawa boy who long to carve out a human existence for themselves among the harsh elements and societal constraints of an evolving Texas frontier.

I hope you enjoy this 9-minute reading of an except from my draft, originally played before a live audience at the American Women’s Literary Club (AWLC) in Peru’s event: A Kaleidoscope of Works and Words in Lima, Peru on August 21, 2017. I recommend turning on the closed captioning in YouTube so that you may read along. Click here to listen to audio recordings of all the other amazing women writers who read at the Kaleidoscope event.

Thank you for visiting!


Quick resources:

For quick online info on the Brazos River’s history and lore, visit the Wikipedia page or the Texas State Historical Association’s Handbook of Texas Online.

Nonfiction resources in print:

Creighton, James A.  A Narrative History of Brazoria County.  Brazoria County Historical Commission, Waco, Texas: 1999.

Henson, Margaret Swett.  Historic Brazoria County: An Illustrated History.  Published for the Brazoria County Historical Museum.  Historical Publishing Network, San Antonio, Texas: 1998.

Holley, Mary Austin.  Texas. Observations, Historical, Geographical, and Descriptive In a Series of Letters.  Written during a Visit to Austin’s Colony, with a view to permanent settlement in that country, in the autumn of 1831.  Accessed March 2016.  HathiTrust Digital Library <https://www.hathitrust.org>.

Kelley, Sean M.  Los Brazos de Dios: A Plantation Society in the Texas Borderlands, 1821 – 1865.  LSU Press, Louisiana: 2010.

6 Comments

  1. Thank you for sharing. I think you describe the character Kid with great tenderness. The story has so many layers weaving in and out of emotions, past and present perspectives and characters. I encourage you to continue on and this will be something special indeed! Congratulations.

    • Elizabeth, thank you for your comment. I am relieved to hear you say I describe him with tenderness. He is a complex character indeed. My struggle to be nice to him on the page has been real! Thank you for taking the time to watch and comment. Your feedback means the world to me. I will continue on as you suggest!

  2. What a beautiful name for a river! Enjoyed listening to your reading — great description. I could picture the scene well. Is Kit the protagonist of the story?

    • Thanks so much for watching. Kit is one of three protagonists, but anything can happen. I chose to share this scene because the only thing I am 100% certain about at this point is Kit’s essential role in the plot. I appreciate your feedback so much!

  3. Enjoyed this reading very much!

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