50 State Tour

Arkansas and a Plaid Earthworm!

I’m very excited to interview Beth Bartlett (@plaidearthworm) for today’s stop! It’s been a long time since I was in Arkansas, and you could say I was barely in it. We lived in Texarkana for 6 weeks. All I really remember is that there was a cool mine where you could pan for diamonds nearby and we did a day trip.

First question should be an easy one: What do you love about living in Arkansas?

My corner of the state is absolutely gorgeous in any season. Arkansas is a nature-lover’s delight, and this year the autumn colors were stunning. I also love the history and the fact that we have a world-class art museum now at Crystal Bridges.

I know you write comedy, and I love your Wisecrack Zodiac. What are you working on right now and where can we find you?

Currently I’m working on a humor book and also dabbling with some short stories. You can always see what I’m up to at www.egbartlett.com or my book blog, www.booknerdvana.com.

You have been reviewing books and you’ve almost talked me into picking up Fly Me to the Moon. What are some of your favorite finds of late?

I just discovered Annette Marie and her new Guild Codex series! I adored Three Mages and a Margarita. It’s fast-paced and fun, and I can’t wait for the next one coming out later this month. I also tore through Helen Harper’s series, The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Magic. Witchy plot mixed with some sweet romance, plus there’s a sarcastic talking cat. I’m hoping there will be more books soon.

Last but not least, do you have a food challenge for me? I was checking out Possum Pie. It sounds scary, but looks awesome.

Oh yes, Possum Pie! Contains zero possum, don’t worry. Cream cheese, chocolate, whipped cream and a sprinkle of pecans. It’s made the Inn of the Ozarks famous, but I don’t have it very often because I can’t pass up their blueberry muffins and chilled strawberry soup. I definitely challenge you to have a slice, you won’t regret it!

Note from Sue: What shouldn’t I miss in Arkansas? To my Arkansans, drop a comment with a tour or food suggestion for a chance to win a book!

50 State Tour

Hello Alaska

I’ve not visited you, Alaska, but I admire you for your rugged beauty. And I’ve been on your planes. When I saw the movie The Proposal I seriously considered immediately moving to Sitka (that was my DREAM house), but my husband advised me there would be a lot of winter. So much winter.

Your food is strange but intriguing to me. Smoked salmon is a big thumbs up. But ice cream made of out lard and berries? I’m intrigued but skeptical.

What shouldn’t I miss in Alaska? To my Alaskans, drop a comment with a tour or food suggestion for a chance to win a book!

50 State Tour

Sweet Home Alabama!


Hey there Alabama! It’s been awhile, but it’s nice to start the tour in a state where I used to live. Yep, in the early 80s I lived in Mobile. The Golden Buckle of the Bible Belt, as a local called it. Home to the oldest Mardi Gras in America (still haven’t attended, need to do that). I lived within walking distance of USA (Go Jaguars!) and attended St. Paul’s Episcopal.

Keep an eye out for my FOOD CHALLENGE. Even though so far all the “weird” foods from Alabama are… just things I eat. Sometimes my attitude skews Yankee, but my tummy is 100% Southern belle.

What shouldn’t I miss in Alabama? To my Alabamans, drop a comment with a tour or food suggestion for a chance to win a book!

50 State Tour, News

50 State Virtual Book Tour

This year I wanted to do something a little different. Since I can’t do a live book tour (time and travel costs), I figured maybe a VIRTUAL 50 state tour could also be fun. You know, as practice for when I can actually hit the road and visit all y’all where you live.

On the day I’m ‘touring’ your state you can get special prices and prizes. I’m ‘visiting’ the states in alphabetical order because that’s a lot easier to do online than in person. On the day I visit your state I want to hear from YOU about the best places to visit, just like I was coming by for reals. Each state will get its own blog post so that we can keep track of everything. Hopefully I will also have an author (or two or three) from each state to join me in promotions on that day. Feel free to comment below with ideas and suggestions!

The tour dates are:

  • 11/10  Alabama with Cornbread in Milk!
  • 11/11  Alaska with Chocolate Bread!
  • 11/12  Arizona with Tamales!
  • 11/13  Arkansas with Possum Pie and Beth Bartlett!
  • 11/14  California with Avocado!
  • 11/15  Colorado with Chili Colorado!
  • 11/16  Connecticut 
  • 11/17  Delaware 
  • 11/18  Florida 
  • 11/19  Georgia 
  • 11/20  Hawaii 
  • 11/21  Idaho 
  • 11/22  Illinois 
  • 11/23  Indiana 
  • 11/24  Iowa 
  • 11/25  Kansas 
  • 11/26  Kentucky 
  • 11/27  Louisiana 
  • 11/28  Maine 
  • 11/29  Maryland
  • 11/30  Massachusetts
  • 12/1    Michigan
  • 12/2    Minnesota
  • 12/3    Mississippi
  • 12/4    Missouri
  • 12/5    Montana
  • 12/6    Nebraska with Sabrina Zbasnik aka Ellen Mint
  • 12/7    Nevada
  • 12/8    New Hampshire
  • 12/9    New Jersey
  • 12/10  New Mexico
  • 12/11  New York
  • 12/12  North Carolina
  • 12/13  North Dakota
  • 12/14  Ohio
  • 12/15  Oklahoma
  • 12/16  Oregon
  • 12/17  Pennsylvania
  • 12/18  Rhode Island
  • 12/19  South Carolina
  • 12/20  South Dakota
  • 12/21  Tennessee
  • 12/22  Texas
  • 12/23  Utah
  • 12/24  Vermont
  • 12/25  Virginia (home for Christmas!)
  • 12/26  Washington
  • 12/27  West Virginia
  • 12/28  Wisconsin with Liz Lincoln
  • 12/29  Wyoming

“See” you soon!!

50 State Tour Sea

Giveaways & Promotions

An Author’s ThanksGIVING


Turkey Trot Blog Hop

The Turkey Trot Blog Hop is a great time to thank the real heroes – READERS. If you comment here between 6am CST on 11/22 and 11:59pm CST on 11/24 (or already did on my Common Christmas giveaway post between 6am CST and now) you are entered in the giveaway for a $50 Amazon Gift Card! If you participate in the Common Christmas giveaway there are even MORE prizes.

Visit ALL the authors for more chances to win the $50 Amazon gift card! You can get the links at the Turkey Trot Blog Hop home page.

My favorite memories of Thanksgiving are playing football in the front yard, my mom’s angel rolls (sooooo fluffy and buttery), and dozing during the football game on TV because of all that turkey. And is there anything better than the turkey and cranberry sauce sandwiches the next day? Yum.

Let’s share some favorite food and/or recipes! Here’s the salad that hubs and I take to all the family events, like Thanksgiving. You’ve probably seen a million variations on it, but this one is ours (adapted from one given to my mom from her friend Carol). In the comments mention a favorite food or give us a favorite recipe. Thanks for playing!

Seven Layer Salad

We always make it in a large plastic container so it is super portable. If you make the night ahead and put in the fridge it also gives all the flavors a chance to mix and mellow. As a typical old married couple we each make it a little differently…

  1. Layer of iceberg lettuce, torn into bite sized pieces
  2. Layer of sliced celery – this is a layer of controversy, as hubs prefers to slice it super thin and I prefer a chunkier slice
  3. Layer of peas – in our household that means one small can of Le Seur, THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE
  4. Layer of purple onion – another controversy as I like onion and hubs thinks a very light scattering is preferable (also, I like rings and he chops)
  5. Another layer of lettuce
  6. Even coat of mayonnaise – you can sprinkle with a bit of sugar if you like
  7. A layer of grated cheddar cheese – we prefer sharp
  8. Garnish with crumbled bacon (or, if hubs, A LOT OF CRUMBLED BACON)

This makes a nice savory and sweet salad. Yes, there are 8 lines there, but you can either not count the second layer of lettuce or consider the bacon a garnish, right? I have no idea. ANYWAY, this is always a winner in our families.

Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win! And maybe next time I can tell you how to make Broccoli Garbage.

Giveaways & Promotions, Romance

#Free Friday! A Book from Julie Johnstone

Have you read any books by the delightful Julie Johnstone? Good news! She has a free book for you today!

The book that started the Whisper of Scandal series is now FREE!!! If you have never tried my books now is the time to do so! I’m not sure how long I’ll leave it for free, but for now, I invite you to give my books a try on me! You can get Bargaining With a Rake for free at:

Giveaways & Promotions, Romance

Valentine’s Interview with Mr. London

Inspired by the RT “Reader, I Married Him” interviews, this Valentine’s you can hear from MISTER London. Valentine’s Day is actually his favorite holiday. He wants to dress up in his Knightly armor to hand out roses.

  1.  How did you guys meet? Was it love at first sight?
    • We met while working together at a Mexican Restaurant. Sue was a new hostess. It was all hot salsa from there! Ok, I would be remiss to say that it love at first site, despite being the husband of a romance author. Sue triple-seated my station and I rushed to the hostess desk to take issue. I found a lovely, engaging, and strong young woman behind the desk. I could not grumble at someone new, so I told her that it ‘threw me in the weeds’. It was days later when I spied her in the bar reading Beowulf, that my Grendel of a heart was slain. THEN I was in love! Beauty, brains, and the ability to be a bit of a beast when times called for it. Sue is no damsel in distress, but a warrior queen to be slay dragons with.
  2. How long were you together before she became a romance author? Or was she already publishing when you met?
    • Sue and I had been together for 24 years before she turned her quill to romance. Sue was always a closet author, though sadly unpublished. She delighted in writing; each of her tales were so entrancing that it became more and more difficult to read her work. She would often write a snippet of a story (paragraphs, chapters, etc.) whose characters were fun and engaging. And inevitably, the story would end as her attention wandered, often mid-sentence. This would leave me in a maddening and frustrated limbo of ‘what happens next’?
      I was a little surprised at the genre she decided to publish, but knew that even if it had been a research paper about glue drying rates, it would be still be a fun romp. As a romantic at heart, I have enjoyed reading her stories and reveled in sometimes knowing what will happen before it hits the keyboard.
  3. So tell us the truth – are you the hero of all of her books?
    • Sue’s characters are so multidimensional that it would be hard to say that I am Gideon, Quince, etc. Each has a distinct personality and suite of strengths and vices that none would be adequate doppelgangers. However, as I read each of her works, I find aspects of myself in several of the male protagonists. I would love to say that all their virtues are mine, but I have often seen them wrestle with personal foibles that I recognize. Granted, I have never been a Lord Lucifer (or his costumed imitator), but there are moments of spontaneity and righteous outbursts that seem to hit close to home.
  4. Are you a fan of your wife’s novels?
    • If we exclude all the books that to date remain incomplete, then yes. I am a huge fan. I have truly appreciated Sue’s ability to craft characters with depth and ‘souls’ that invite you to know them. I am struck by her instinct and desire to add a reasonably accurate historical backdrop rather than placing her characters in a fantasy vision of what once might have been. I find that my appreciation for the Regency period, which I knew more by date rage than content, has been piqued as she weaves her tales through real events. I also enjoy reading about women (the Haberdashers) who have a palpable and plausible strength, as opposed to the common shrinking violets in many period texts. Sue delights in researching and regaling me with the stories of the many incredible women such as Joanna Żubr, Lady Stanhope, and Jane Townsend who are often forgotten in history texts. I have to be honest in saying that I enjoy her sweetheart novellas (Haberdasher Tales) the most.
  5. Are you a writer? What kind of books would you publish if you could?
    • I have written, but have not published anything more than scientific articles and academic papers. I have the mind of a storyteller, but currently lack the desire to become an author. Sue often suggests that I should scribe some of my many ideas, perhaps so I can stop bothering her with, “I have an idea for a story (books, series, etc.)”. They range from popular fiction, fantasy, sci-fi, and horror genres. That being said, I would find it hard not to incorporate romance in any story I write, as I have always been a romantic by nature. I have been lucky enough to enjoy friendship, partnership, and love with Sue for many years. I cannot imagine a true hero that should not enjoy the same reward.
  6. If you wrote a romance book, what would it be called?
    • A friend of ours teased that that no one ever really writes stories about accountant heroes. Even though I am a biologist by training, I love a challenge, so I thought it would be fun to write an accounting romance/murder mystery series. My first book would have to be called, “No Accounting for Taste.”
  7. What’s the best part of having a romance author for a wife?
    • Honestly, the best part has been experiencing Sue’s joy in attaining a life-time dream of becoming a published author. I love the twinkle in her eyes, the quickening of her conversation when she shares her latest ideas, and her appreciation for her readers. It is also great fun to talk through emerging plots as they are being dreamt when we travel to and from work or just sharing quiet moments. Jack, Sabre, and George have become my sister-in-laws, and I have to confess that I can’t wait to find out about Robert Bittlesworth and his romance with Imogen. I keep getting snippets of conversation and glimpses of developing romance. It is like peeking in the window of the Home Office, and knowing Robert, I keep waiting for the touch of a black powder pistol between my shoulder-blades for spying. Despite the danger, I want to know more!
  8. What is the biggest challenge in having a romance author as a partner?
    • The hardest part is watching Sue struggle to balance a full-time position and a new career in writing. She has such a thirst to write and a desire to engage her readers. She spends a lot of her time trying to balance these demands. Sue has done an amazing job in self-publishing, an avenue that I was originally averse to. I argued that her work would be very palatable to publishing companies, but Sue likes to do things on her own (how Haberdasher). Sue is ingenious, creative, and thoughtful about her work and loves her readers. When she receives critiques, as all artists do, she is amazingly balanced and thoughtful. Rarely has she tiraded about someone’s opinions on her work. It is hard as a husband not to want to get online at times and allow the incensed Gideon inside me to take someone to task.

Thanks for being on the blog today, Mr. London!

Readers, want to win a free copy of Fortune Said, Sue’s Valentine novella, for yourself or a friend? Comment to tell us about your Mister/Miss (or Dream Mister/Miss) and Sue will randomly select up to three entries for a free copy of the ebook.