Best Selling Western Romance Writer

Caroline Clemmons 

 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 chile, 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 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.

To order books click on covers

 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.





Caroline is offering one set of the Men of Stone Mountain trilogy as a giveaway–print for the US or ebook for International.

So don”t be shy. Hop on board and  give her a big howdy–and you could be the winner!







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  1. Howdy Caroline. Another Texan here. i live i n Pasadena, near Houston. I’ve mostly lived in small towns through much of my life. I moved back here to be near my children when my children when my husband was dying with cancer. I’d lived here before, but was gone for 25 years. Traffic is so bad and these multiple lanes, that I don’t drive out of town. There was a mostly dry riverbed in the country where I lived for awhile before marriage. Our school had the end of school party at that place every year. Whole families attended. Was always fun. We had heard of the quicksand but never saw any. Thank goodness. 105 . I can’t imagine what things people who live so long have experienced. So many stories they could tell. From pioneer days with wagon trains, to cars, airplanes, and now all of the things we have. Hard to believe her kids have mostly livd into their 90s too. But, the sad part, is losing your kids and so many family members and friends. I have heard of and seen on TV a lot who have reached the 100 mark. But, to still have a good mind is a wonderful thing. I already get frustrated with forgetting too much. By the way, she should be good for a few more stories. Would also love to hear of her adventures. Someone should write about them before she is gone and all that lost. Loved the interview and would love to win a print of your series. That would be wonderful. Thanks for the chance. Maxie mac262(at)me(dot)com

  2. I don’t think I can recall reading books where quicksand is involved, but one of my fav movies that involves this is The Hallelujah Trail, with Burt Lancaster and Lee Remick.. It was a great comedy where a wagon train of whisky falls prey to the quicksand.. It is a great movie and really, really funny..
    You are a new to me author, but your books sounds like ones that must be on my tbr list…
    thanks for a great giveaway

  3. Hi, Caroline–you remember I was born in Palo Pinto County,and as a child, played and waded in the Brazos River. Now you’ve scared me silly! I never heard stories of quicksand in the Brazos! My grandfather who lived close by where my daddy was raised told me and my little sister stories about the Comanche battles around the Palo Pinto Mountains, but he never told a quicksand story. Like you,I have a sinking feeling–oops—in the pit of my stomach just thinking about it.
    This is as scary as the bottomless pits in New Mexico–I had nightmares as a child after seeing those.
    Good post, just the kind of stories I love!

  4. Hi, Caroline! Texas & that whole lifestyle, along with the scenery & history, sound wonderful, I’d love to take a trip there in the future. It would be great to win your trilogy!

  5. What scary stories, Caroline. I’ve read other descriptions of quicksand that isn’t that deep, and instructions on how to save yourself if you’re on foot (run if you still can, or flatten out to distribute your weight). So it was very interesting to know that the pull-you-under-and-kill-you kind does really exist.
    In my September western THE BALLAD OF EMMA O’TOOLE, the closest I come to using quicksand is a hero who was on the run and faked his death by tossing his hat onto a pool of the stuff. Good to know it wasn’t too far-fetched.

  6. Where did all the quicksand go, I wonder. The modern world has all kinds of terrifying natural phenomena — killer storms, mudslides, avalanches, earthquakes, sinkholes — but nobody ever seems to get caught in quicksand anymore. Weird. (I’m not sure why my mind wandered off in that direction, but that’s the kind of morning this has been.)

    Thanks for this post, Caroline! Add me to the list of folks who shudder at the very thought of quicksand. I remember thinking, when I read Brazos Bride, “Wow. I haven’t seen a quicksand scene in ages.” 🙂

  7. Hi Caroline! We’re thrilled to have you blog with us again. It’s always a pleasure. You have very interesting things to say. I did not know about quicksand on the Brazos. No wonder that river was so tricky to cross in the 1800’s. It must’ve been very scary. What a treasure you have in the friendship of that 105 year old woman! I’m sure she has tons of fascinating stories to share. I’d love to meet her.

    Wishing you much success with your Men of Stone trilogy!

  8. Hi Caroline, I’ve watched movies and TV shows with quick sand but have never witnessed it in person. I can’t imagine the terror of being sucked into the earth. *shiver*

    I enjoyed your first Stone Mountain book and need to get the next one. My reading time is so limited it takes a while for me to get through my TBR pile.

    Congrats on a great trilogy!

  9. welcome Caroline,very nice post,,I went on a wagon train when I was 3 with my Dad,,I remember a little of it not much,,we have some really cool pictures,of course back then 55yrs ago they were black an white,,my grandmother went to do the cooking ,my mom stayed home cause she was pregnant with twins,,I guess back in the real old days,she wouldnt have had that choice

  10. I have always wondered about quicksand. Thank you for this information. Your books are what I like to read (westerns). I will look for them.

  11. Wow, I have to admit I didn’t really think there was quicksand in the US, I thought it was more an island or tropical thing. I remember hearing stories and reading about it as a girl and being scared silly at the very thought of it. A fascinating story!

  12. I don’t think I’ve read a story that had quicksand in it – only in the movies. It’s a fascinating subject since it’s not something I’ve ever seen and it does sound scary. Can I laugh over your typo up above? hope so lol. “As a chile” – of course you meant child but it gave me a good laugh. Thanks for the post, I enjoyed it.


  13. Hi Caroline, welcome to Wildflower Junction! It’s always so great to have you spend the day with us. I love this post. I always thought that deep burying sucking quick sand was a movie contruct. I have a quick-sand scene in Marrying Minda but it’s in Nebraska. My friends there described its effects, and it’s mostly getting stuck, not buried.

    Great stuff today, and good luck with the books!

  14. Hi Caroline.

    Scary stuff you have your characters wading into. They must hope your phobias are few and far between.

    Best wishes with your books.

  15. In the foothills of the Adirondacks we had quick sand springs in our neighbor’s woodlot next to the field where we cut hay when I was a teenager. One day when we stopped to get a drink from the creek my dad gave us a lesson in staying clear of the quick sand. He stuck a four foot long stick in the sand and it just kept sinking. It didn’t go all the way under but for several weeks after we checked on it and about a foot of it was still above the sand. We learned the lesson well and always stayed clear of the water pools that even looked like they might have quick sand bottoms. Of course we did have to try a few more sticks just to see what would happen.

  16. Never been near quicksand… do not recall any book that I have read with it in it… very interesting… have seen some in movies… would be scary to come across it… thanks for sharing!

  17. I have played in the Brazos as a child, but no one ever warned me about quicksand. Interesting and a bit scary. I guess it’s true ignorance is bliss. I agree that you should record more of your friend’s stories. She’s a wonderful resource!
    Thanks for posting today.

  18. Welcome to the P&P Caroline! I don’t think I want to be around quick sand myself. I have watched movies about quick sand and have also read a few books where they talk about it. That would be on heck of a way to go. I have read your book Brazos Bride and really enjoyed it, so I can’t wait to read more of your books/

  19. Caroline, quicksand is nasty stuff. I don’t like movies that show people or animals being sucked in by it. Thank God for bridges over the Brazos and Red River!

  20. Hi Caroline! (My mother-in-law’s name so I’m sure you are terrific too!) Whenever I’ve seen quicksand in a movie or TV show, I’ve always been curious about it but it one thing that I have never wanted to see first hand! I’ve always thought that, that is ONE way I would hate to die of/in! It would be a horrible way to go! So slow and terrifying! thanks for your post!

  21. The picture you paint sounds terrifying!

    The river looks so peaceful. Looks can definitely be deceiving!

    I’d love to meet your Men of Stone Mountain heroes.

  22. Interesting article. Your books sounds colorful. I have yet to visit that part of Texas. Would love to read your books.

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