Countdown to Launch!
Updated: Aug 25, 2018
In just five days, on August 28, Living Waters will be delivered to the world on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. Four days after that, on 1 Sept, we will have our book launch and book signing. It's hard to believe I have made it this far. When I first sat down to seriously write this novel I hadn't a clue how to do it or how to publish it once it was written. More than two years later, I have learned many lessons.
I learned to trust my writing instincts--they do not fail. I learned to sit my behind in front of the computer every day and write something--anything--as it keeps my creativity flowing and my connection to the story strong. I learned to trust that the professionals at Palmetto Publishing had my best interest at heart. They displayed it at every step, especially as the revision process took on a fevered tempo, with numerous changes even to the last moment.
As I put down my pen (my keyboard) for the final time before delivering the manuscript to be printed, I sighed deeply and wondered if I had gotten it right. Had I honored the veterans who trusted me over the years; whose stories all informed this story? Had I captured well the beauty and bounty of my beloved Lowcountry? Had I given you a book worthy of your readership?
Soon you will be able to hold Living Waters in your hands to determine for yourself if it works. Let me know what you think once you do. For now, let me share with you the first two pages of Chapter 23, to whet your appetite...
Early May in Charleston can be a gamble when it comes to outdoor activities. Especially when those activities include 1,500 graduating students and their families assembled in the cistern yard in front of Randolph Hall. Intolerable heat and humidity are just as likely as cooler temps and heavy rain. That Saturday afternoon, the weather gods were looking favorably upon the commencement ceremonies for the College of Charleston. The sun, hanging in a cloudless sky, shone through a canopy of oaks high above a sea of folding chairs. An air of revelry and expectation covered the campus like early morning dew.
An endless line of young men and women stretched the entire length of Green Way as they marched toward the final objective of their pilgrimage begun four years earlier in that same cistern yard. Missing were the black robes and mortarboards, however. The College of Charleston’s roots run deep into the eighteenth century. Proud traditions closely align with the style and class that set her city apart as the crown jewel of the American South. Every young woman wore a white dress and held a bouquet of red roses. Each young man, in a white dinner jacket, black slacks, and black tie, wore a single red rose boutonniere.
Caroline Sullivan stood holding her bouquet just above eye level, hoping to block the sun while she chatted with those around her. “I can’t believe it’s finally here!” she announced to a marine biology senior behind her.
“Yes, yes, yes!” was all the hopeful young woman could offer in response.
Days such as those had a way of confounding one’s otherwise robust vocabulary. All around them, others excitedly shared hopes and dreams for life beyond the classroom. Caroline reflected silently on her four years—feeling lost the first couple weeks of freshman year; rushing and then deciding against joining a sorority; third-year term abroad studying in France, Italy, and Greece; her senior year that culminated in a wildly successful senior exhibit; and AJ McClellan.
Before she knew it, Caroline had meandered through the first floor of Randolph Hall and out again for that cherished walk across the cistern for her hard-earned diploma. Once commencement ended, she found her daddy in the crowd and ran to him. Within the hour, a full-on celebration had begun on the grounds of the Sullivan estate.
“A toast! To the most exceptional daughter a father could hope for!” Drew raised his champagne high in the air. Inside a sprawling white canvas enclosure, over two hundred guests were seated at round tables under fine linen tablecloths with candles and fresh flowers as centerpieces. A parquet dance floor covered the ground between them and a stage, where the iconic beach music band Chairmen of the Board was set to begin playing in short order. No expense spared for his little girl.
As president of Magnolia Bank, Charleston’s oldest and most successful financial institution, Drew Sullivan knew how to create and manage wealth better than most. His instincts for business were unparalleled, and it showed. His Jedi-like ability to read his competition meant no one was safe once he set his mind to something, banking or otherwise. As much as Drew was an apex predator in business, he was a humble and generous man with those he loved, and he loved him some Caroline. More than life itself.