Friday, August 27, 2010

Bloom of Raging Red - A Word Paint Blogfest

Photograph by Troy Kelly.
Dawn Embers is celebrating 100 followers with a Blogfest that is all about description...painting a picture with words.

Her Word Paint Blogfest is in full swing today and I threw in my writer's cap with an entry.

This selection is from a work in progress for my Shades of Hope Series. Bayou Blue is a romantic suspense novel... Cajun style.

Riley's family name is synonymous with death; her brother the cause of a terrible tragedy. When she receives a letter that casts his blame in doubt, Riley will do anything to prove his innocence...even if it means teaming up with a man she loves, but doesn't trust.  This is an excerpt from the first chapter.

Bayou Blue

Chapter One
Bayou La Foudre, Louisiana

I used to think of the ocean as a place of peace until that night on the black water; when the air heated so fast and so furious that the wet steamed right off me. The dark night lit up with a bloom of raging red and orange. The night the sea stole my brother.

I remember how our lifeboat bucked on the water and I clutched the side with aching, sweaty hands. Members of the crew jostled and jockeyed for position on the craft, tending to the wounded. I noticed absently the paint on the hull melted off from the blast and the sickening feeling in my gut when we capsized in the swells.

Overhead, acrid smoke billowed up from the listing structure blacking out the jaundiced moon. Helicopters panned search lights back and forth lighting up the churning waves with frantically jerking beams. All around us flames flared across the water fed by the oil slicking along the surface. Trembling with fear and loss, my brother’s last words clanged in my head.

Don’t believe what they tell you.

The car behind me honked, tearing me out of my memories. I waved my apology and tore through the intersection on the yellow light. Skating around a curve, I rolled across the pebbled driveway of the Roustabout Bunkhouse, and slid into a parking space up front.

The worn structure sat huddled under a pair of large Cypress trees. Spanish moss draped over the branches and hung down to the roof, just scraping it with the faded green tendrils. Low in the sky, the sun angled shards of sunlight through the softly swaying leaves. I shut off the engine and sat staring through the windshield at the building’s faded wood façade trying to find the courage to go inside.

My phone buzzed on the seat next to me, the screen heralding my boss at the paper. Joseph Bradley ran San Diego’s North County Chronicle with an iron fist. The fact that one of his reporters didn’t show up for work this fine Monday morning must be driving him nuts.

Digging in my purse for my press credential, I found it and tossed it into the glove compartment of the rented sedan.

Wouldn’t be needing that out here. The less people knew I was back in Louisiana, the better.

I drummed my fingers on the steering wheel and bit my inner cheek. If I turned around now, caught a flight back to California, and just called the head office…

No. Randy deserved to have his stuff packed up by someone who knew him before his name meant death and destruction. Someone who loved him despite what he’d become. I thought about my younger brother and the breath whooshed out of me with the weight of his memory.

Hand going to my arm, to the still-healing burns, I wondered at how life pulled us in such different directions that he could turn so far into darkness without me knowing. Without me having one clue.

I folded and refolded the letter I received in the mail three days before the tragedy. Stained with tears and mottled with the oil of my hands, I knew the contents by heart. Randy’s all-capital handwriting scratched across the page.

I’m in over my head, sis. I don’t know how to stop this.

He’d asked for my help. He’d said he was scared. He said he’d explain when I got here. That was it. That is all Randy left me. That and scars both inside and out.

I knew one true thing. I failed Randy before. I wouldn’t do it again. One way or another, I would make things right...

I hope you enjoyed my selection. There are some really great entries over at Dawn's...take a few minutes to check them out. 

Until Next time...Go Write!


Summer Ross said...

That's a really sad scene, but it draws the reader in. My favorite line: "Overhead, acrid smoke billowed up from the listing structure blacking out the jaundiced moon"

Brenda Drake said...

"The dark night lit up with a bloom of raging red and orange." This rocked! I love this scene. It completely pulled me in. Great writing and word painting. I'm so intrigued.

Francine said...


Great start to this - the acrid smoke fair choking the reader, pulling one into the scene!

Then, suddenly the reader is thrown into a secondary situation, yet smooth transition from one scene to next.


Tessa Conte said...

Nice! I've loved all the snippets you've provided of your Bayou Blue novel so far, it's gonna be absolutely fabulous - or already is, if you've finished!


Roland D. Yeomans said...

I can't wait to read all of BAYOU BLUE. You swept the reader into the canvas of your narrative with your bold strokes of color, fear, grief, remorse, and resolve.

You did a great job, Roland

drea moore said...

I really like this start! The description fits in perfectly, paints a scene and helps to move the story. I am hooked :D

RaShelle said...

Raquel - This was amazing! All of it. The description out of the water and then how you brought us to the present. Great storytelling. =D

Eric W. Trant said...

I do believe you've posted this, or one similar, for another blogfest.

In any case, as well-crafted as I would expect, plenty of forward-movement via punchy word choice.

- Eric

Elaine AM Smith said...

I could smell the heat and the guilt
My favour phrases were: "Skating around a curve" and "Stained with tears and mottled with the oil of my hands"
This was powerful painting with words.:)

Theresa Milstein said...

You paints the pictures of two different places. Good job!

Postman said...

Wow, you're a vivid writer. I'd say you do a decent job of setting scenes and introducing characters, as well as writing colorfully.

Just beware of one thing: phrases like "acrid smoke" and "faded façade" get used a LOT in fiction. You might want to consider shaking up your adjective use a bit. Clichés can ruin a good piece of writing.

Donna Hole said...

Love how well you go from setting to setting, integrating each description with ease. Very nice.


Anonymous said...

I didn't enter the blogfest but I'm enjoying reading the entries. You nailed it with beautiful language! Great job1

Erin Kane Spock said...

The panic and threat of a terrible death were so well described. The fire was the enemy, the sea was the enemy, and then she was her own enemy. Great post.

Dawn Embers said...

Thank you for entering the blogfest. I did like the piece posted. The first paragraph I struggled through a little, but it has some great descriptive elements. Overall, good job.

JC Martin @ Fighter Writer said...

I loved the start, especially "acrid smoke billowed up from the listing structure blacking out the jaundiced moon". That really painted a vivid image! You really have a way with words!

Lovy Boheme said...

Were you excited when you wrote that first paragraph? Because that was just effing gorgeous. Definitely sucked into the rest of the scene as well.

Damyanti said...

I missed reading this in the last two days...and I'm glad that I finally caught up.

THe description in your first paragraph pretty much floored me.