Unexpected Texas Climbs the Charts
Welcome to Day 7 of the #UnexTex Unexpected Texas Book Release Blog Tour for my quirky travel guide Unexpected Texas. My book is currently for sale as a paperback and eBook on Amazon. I’m also thrilled to report that on Tuesday, March 4, 2014 Unexpected Texas reached #1 on the Amazon Bestsellers list for Dallas – Fort Worth Travel books!
Morgan Dragonwillow: My Creative Champion
Today, my book is featured on Morgan Dragonwillow’s blog. I’m so grateful to have Morgan in my life. Even so, I struggled with this post. It’s simply impossible to sum up in a tidy little paragraph how much support Morgan has given me!
Have you ever bumped into folks who seemingly delight in belittling and destroying others’ creative efforts? I’ve met plenty, and am happy to report that Morgan is the exact opposite. She loves to inspire and encourage. It seems to be one of her life missions.
While I often keep my creative stuff hidden away, Morgan encourages me to share it, and quit worrying if I’m “good enough.” Just the other day, she sent a text message urging me to “Own it!” It being my creativity in all its forms. Morgan has been a champion not only for my writing, but also my photography, and my music. I truly appreciate it!
Spend a little time over at Morgan Dragonwillow’s blog and you will quickly realize she’s got a lot going on. I think it’s safe to say, however, that poetry is one of her favorite creative outlets. Morgan even created a kick-ass hashtag and poetry challenge called: #OctPoWriMo, which is like a #NaNoWriMo for poets.
Isn’t that a great idea?
Another one of Morgan’s creative projects is an anthology called Wise Words from 50 Women over 50. She is currently seeking submissions:
If you are a woman over 50, or if you know of any woman over 50, that would like to contribute please contact me through my email morgan underscore dragonwillow at hotmail dot com. Make sure you leave a comment either here or through my Facebook or Twitter so that I know you have emailed me, otherwise I may not see it.
What I am looking for: Quotes, poems, and essays up to 1500 words, or even all three, of words of wisdom from women over 50. Words that can help other women approaching 50 that need loving guidance on their journey.
Last spring, Morgan released her first book of poems entitled Dancing within Shadow – A Poetic Journey. Morgan’s poetry is fiery and passionate. Check it out!
Wild Woman Waking (featuring my photography!)
This year, Morgan Dragonwillow released Wild Woman Waking, another collection of her poems. This time, however, the poems are accompanied by photos, and the photos were all taken by yours truly! I will have more to say about Wild Woman Waking next week when I participate in its blog tour, but I couldn’t help mentioning it today, too.
#UnexTex Prizes for International Women’s Day
I’m calling the prizes at today’s blog tour stop the “International Women’s Day Prize Pack,” because they each refer to specific women I mention in Unexpected Texas. The prize bundle includes: One Aunt Jemima apron, a zebra striped mani/pedi kit, a mini Texas Hold ‘Em game, & a paperback copy of Unexpected Texas.
Yes, it’s a quirky assortment of items, but as I said, each item relates to a woman I mention in Unexpected Texas. For starters, the apron is a reference to Lillian Richard. Ms. Richard played Aunt Jemima for the Quaker Oats Company for 37 years. She’s the reason that Hawkins, Texas is known as the “Pancake Capital of Texas.”
An Apron? What’s the deal?
Some may scoff at the idea of an apron and Aunt Jemima being mentioned on International Women’s Day, but Lillian Richard was a brave woman. She set off at a young age to make a life for herself in the big city of Dallas at a time when women, and especially black women, had few employment opportunities.
Recently, Lillian Richard’s niece petitioned the Texas State Legislature to commemorate her aunt’s life by naming Hawkins the Pancake Capital of Texas. She was also instrumental in getting a Texas State Historical Marker placed in Ms. Richard’s honor. You can read more about it in this online news article Historical Marker Dedicated for Lillian Richard, Aunt Jemima Portrayer
Beauty and the Book
The zebra-striped, boot-shaped mani/pedi kit is in honor of Kathy L. Murphy. In fact, I’m going to share an excerpt straight from Unexpected Texas to tell you about her:
Beauty and the Book is a beauty salon/bookstore owned and operated by the vivacious cosmetologist and entrepreneur, Kathy L. Murphy (formerly Patrick.) Beauty and the Book was Murphy’s “lemons to lemonade” response to losing her job as a book sales representative in 1999. Shortly after opening the shop over in Jefferson, Murphy created the Pulpwood Queens and Timber Guys book club, a franchise that now has over 550 chapters and around 3,000 members worldwide.
Murphy and her book club have been featured on everything from Newsweek, Time magazine, The Wall Street Journal, Los Angeles Times, “The Oprah Winfrey Show!,” and “Good Morning, America.” As with her salon/bookstore, the main objective of the club is to have fun. The club’s motto is, “Where tiaras are mandatory and reading good books is the RULE!”
A few years ago, Murphy also launched an annual festival for book club members called the Pulpwood Queens Girlfriend Weekend, which draws 400 to 500 men and women to Jefferson, Texas each January. Keynote speakers at this event have included Fannie Flagg, Pat Conroy, Carol Alt, and more.
As of 2014, Murphy’s Beauty and the Book has moved from Jefferson to Hawkins, Texas. It’s currently in with The Nail and Hair Shed, so before you plan your trip, double check her website to get the most up-to-date information.
Doesn’t Kathy L. Murphy sound like a hoot? I get the feeling that hanging out with her is the closest you can get to being a member of the Ya Ya Sisterhood that Rebecca Wells wrote about in her novel.
OK, but Texas Hold ‘Em?
As for the Texas Hold ‘Em game, that’s a nod to the gambler’s saying, “Eighter from Decatur, County seat of Wise.” The word “eighter” was originally “Ada.” For the full story on that one, however, you are simply going to have to read Unexpected Texas for yourself!
2 Ways to Win Today’s #UnexTex Prizes
You can win the items mentioned above by entering the Rafflecopter below. Afterwards, you can enter *again* over at Morgan Dragonwillow’s website. Prize winners will be chosen on March 11, 2014. If you use Twitter, you can even re-enter this giveaway daily!
Please help me build #UnexTex Buzz
If you are on Twitter, or any other social media platform that uses hashtags, please help me build buzz for my book book by using the hashtag #UnexTex to talk about it. Thank you! :)
Blog Hop Your Way to More Prizes
To visit all the stops along the #UnexTex Book Release Blog Tour, simply click your way through the numbered links below. There are prizes offered at each stop. The winners will be chosen March 11, 2014, so you can enter daily! Have fun! :)