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U is for Unexpected Texas


Shameless Plug Day!

As we near the end of the alphabet, and the April A to Z blog challenge winds down, I found myself struggling to choose a topic for the letter U. Suddenly it dawned on me; I could blog about Unexpected Texas, the book I wrote thanks to the great response I got to last year’s April A to Z blog posts.

So, let’s just call today “shameless plug day!”

Why did I Write Unexpected Texas?

Shortly after moving to north Texas in the fall of 2009, I began writing travel articles about the Dallas – Fort Worth Metroplex. It was a lot of fun, but the outlets I wrote for were only interested in mainstream tourist advice.


Meanwhile, I kept digging up offbeat and overlooked places that weren’t in any travel guides. I love quirky history and unusual places, but I had trouble getting editors interested. I toyed with the idea of writing a book with all the info I had acquired, but I wasn’t sure that readers would be interested.

April A to Z Inspiration

That’s where the April A to Z Challenge comes in. My topic last year was “quirky Texas,” and the response I got to my posts was very encouraging. This was reinforced by my blog stats, which even now point out that I’m not the only person interested in offbeat and overlooked travel destinations and quirky Texas lore.

Such a thrill when Unexpected Texas hit number one!
Such a thrill when Unexpected Texas hit number one!

Unexpected Texas: An Amazon Best Seller

By September, I decided to buckle down and write a book on the topic. I released Unexpected Texas on March 2, 2014 (Texas Independence Day, y’all!) and shortly after, it became an Amazon Best Seller, hitting the number one slot for Dallas – Fort Worth Travel as you can see in the image above.

Yee haw!

I’m delighted to report that native Texans who have vetted the book all tell me that they find places in it that they have never heard of before!

Plus, I’m told that Unexpected Texas is a fun read even if you have no plans to travel to the Lone Star State. As one Amazon reviewer put it, Unexpected Texas is: “…not only informational, but a hoot to read even if you aren’t from around Texas”


What Exactly is in Unexpected Texas?

If you would like a taste of some of the quirky goodness included in my offbeat travel guide Unexpected Texas, here are a few blog posts that are about places included in the book:

Grave of an Alleged Space Alien in Aurora, Texas

The Lynching of a Very Bad Santa Claus

Larry McMurtry’s Booked Up (a huge indie bookstore in a tiny Texas town!)

Garden of Angels Murder Memorial

Grand Saline’s Salt Palace

Mysterious Statue of Jesus in Cowboy Boots

Healing Waters of Mineral Wells

Quirky Shoe-Shaped Gravestones

Dinosaur Footprints and Petrified Wood Buildings

Eiffel Tower Replica in Paris, Texas.

Legendary Horny Toad That Met the President & Inspired Warner Brothers

…and much, much more! To check it out in more detail and/or buy a copy for yourself, check out Unexpected Texas at

Here’s How You Can Win a Copy of Unexpected Texas

For those who have read this far I’d like to offer you the chance to win a copy of Unexpected Texas for yourself. There are three ways you can win:

1. Leave a comment on my blog – either on this post or another one.

2. Tweet about this post. Make sure you include my Twitter name @TuiSnider so I see the tweet, and please include the hashtags #atozchallenge and #unextex.

3. Sign up for my infrequent-but-interesting newsletter, which can be found in the upper right hand side of my blog. See it up there in the sidebar?

Of course, anyone who does all 3 of the above tasks ups their chances of winning and also earns my undying gratitude!

At the end of the April A to Z blog challenge, three lucky people (a commenter, a tweeter, and a newsletter signer-upper) will each win a copy of my offbeat travel guide Unexpected Texas.

Thanks again for all your support. It means a lot to me! :D

Tui Snider
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Published inMy BooksUnexpected Texas


  1. Terry Tyler Terry Tyler

    I really love your blog, Tui! I have kept my tweet about it in my favourites so I can go back to it and look at more when I have more time. I am unable to travel because of domestic circumstances, but I do love to read about all the places I may, but probably will never, get to go. Always been fascinated by geography and history, so this is right up my rue. I’ll tweet about the blog re the A-Z aspect later, too :)

  2. We always go for the quirky. (Probably why we ended up in Ecuador.) One of our favorite quirky Texas moments happened in Austin. There is a park across from the original Salt Lick — the picnic tabletops were gravestones. That was fun. London is great for quirky, too. Especially the offbeat museums.

    Glad you stopped by my blog. I now subscribe to yours.

    A to Z Challenge

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Thank you, Viridian! That was sweet of you to feature me on your blog for the letter U. Glad I could help “U” out – har! :D

  3. I’m just over halfway throuhg, Tui. It’s a great bedtime read. I can read a few pages and relax, instead of having a plot keep my mind active.

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hey Patricia, I’m glad my book is helping to usher you off to dreamland. Wait ’til my next one comes out: I’m writing about haunted travel destinations in North Texas. Researching for it is a blast! :D

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Thank you, Silvia! At least now there is something out there for travelers looking for offbeat and overlooked places here in North Texas. :D

  4. I love Texas and have been throughout the state many times. I still haven’t been to Glen Rose and that’s one place on my list to visit some day. I also want to return to Big Bend Nat’l Park. I’ve been there a few times, but it’s been 30 years since I was last there.

    I did all three things needed to win a copy of the book, but I would have done them anyway.

    Thanks for your participation in the #AZchat


    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi Lee!

      Thank you for swinging by. Glen Rose is a treat! Don’t just hit up the state park, see the dino prints and go. Make sure you visit the historic town square with its gorgeous stone courthouse, and a gazebo with crystals, fossils, and dinosaur footprints in the masonry. You will adore the bookstore, too, which is owned by a woman named Storie. How perfect is that? :D

  5. I’m totally into quirky and off-the-wall spots to check out (hmm. . .maybe I’ll do a post on Carhenge sometime). I don’t know what’s wrong with your editors! Or maybe most people are boring and we’re just a few, proud, interesting people ;)

    Thanks for stopping by my blog–so that I saw this post!

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi Rebecca, If you *do* post about Carhenge, let me know. As you can imagine, that’s right up my alley! :D

  6. How awesome that the A to Z Challenge inspired a book! And here I was starting to wonder why on earth we’re all doing this crazy thing. ;)

    I’m sure it’s a really interesting book, as all the blog posts of yours I’ve read have been fascinating. Congrats!

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi Holli!

      Last year’s A to Z definitely gave me a push in the right direction. Since the travel editors I knew kept saying there wasn’t an audience for quirky stuff, I was having doubts. Although I hadn’t planned it as such, A to Z wound up being a great way for me to test the market.

      This year, I’m just having fun mingling with bloggers who I would like to stay in touch with *after* the A to Z challenge – such as you! :D

  7. Your photos are great and looks like you’re having a fun AtoZ. We often miss the obvious when looking for words. Looks like you found some gems in unexpected Texas.
    Surely it’s not nearly over, I’m just managing to find time to visit more wonderful bloggers..

    • Tui Snider Tui Snider

      Hi Lynne!

      Yes – A to Z is winding down already! Thank goodness I had a bunch of posts pre-scheduled because for the past couple of weeks my internet has been conking out repeatedly. I’ve fallen behind on commenting and visiting others and am madly catching up now. Thank you for stopping by! :D

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