Serendipity is just a fancy word for dumb luck

Pushing toward the completion of a new book (and this website) is an interesting process. For me, it is the end of a series of events that really began back in 2005 when I first learned about Trammel’s Trace. That story led to Hendricks Lake and it was so intriguing I just had to run it down.

In producing a book there is the tedious detail like proofreading (again and again and again), formatting, and in this case, managing the tools that Amazon provides to get this done.

Then there is the emotion that goes along with the idea that words and thoughts and images I have only shared with a few people will suddenly be “out there” for others. I remember having the same feelings 2 1/2 years ago when my book on Trammel’s Trace came out (Click to see A Few Hundred Red Pens). But this time feels a little different.

The biggest practical difference is the fact that I am self-publishing this one instead of going through the requirements for an academic press. There are still over 200 footnotes and tons of research, but this volume is shorter than the last and has a ton of pictures (yay!). As I type this I’m expecting delivery today on a printed “proof” copy from Amazon to see what we can expect in paperback. Soon.

It is also much different when writing about events that happened 60 or 70 years ago rather than 200. I’ve been able to interview people who were at the lake as children or teens during some of these treasure hunts. Their first hand accounts and recollections are what gives this book life. Their stories about their fathers and grandfathers are rich with details.

Both books have emerged only after vigorous research followed by a tenacious curiosity that has led me to some incredibly interesting people and places. Things just seem to fall into place in the most wonderful ways. Phone calls, emails, meet ups to ride another back road I haven’t yet been down. I have been known to say that dumb luck is my best friend, but now I have come to expect the surprises and rewards of what feels like purely random events turning into a story.


My friend, Pete, talks about “putting things out in the universe” with thoughts or ideas, so maybe he is right. Two years ago I put Trammel’s Trace out for people to discover it anew and now there is a five-foot granite marker memorializing it in Nacogdoches.

So the thought I’m putting out today is simple: I want this new book to engage you in the story, but also in the people.

I’ll save that other crazy thought about Hendricks Lake someday being a protected preserve with a historical marker dedicated to the true believers for another day. Oops……