Well, hush my puppies and grind my grits – I just love South Carolina and Georgia! We continued our spring book tour in charming Beaufort, a coastal town made famous in several movies. (“The Great Santini” and “Prince of Tides.”) These were two highly acclaimed books by the great Pat Conroy. (Not to be confused with the great Tim Conway.) Sparing no expense, my publisher provided accommodations in The Rhett House, a truly unique property. The inn was everything I hoped it would be, and the staff could not have been more pleasant and professional. The rooms don’t come cheap, but they are worth every penny.
The highlight of our stay in Beaufort was a guided tour of Beaufort and St. Helena Island. (St. Helena is where the Penn Center is located, and this is a MUST stop for all of you history buffs.) We were lucky enough to obtain the services of the BEST guide in South Carolina, the one and only Kelly McGowan. Kelly was sweet, knowledgeable, and highly entertaining. If you go to Beaufort, do not even think about hiring another guide. (Her father, who we had the pleasure of meeting, is the author of TWO books dealing with the Gullah culture and Beaufort!) If you need her contact information, just give me a call.
After our wonderful experience in the Low Country, we traveled north and drove up to Atlanta, Georgia. Believe it or not, my publisher’s generosity continued and he arranged for us to stay in yet another fabulous Bed & Breakfast inn! For the last 3 days we have been the guests of Debbie and Ed McCord, the gracious hosts of the lovely Shellmont Inn. As some of you know, I have had the good fortune to stay in many B & B establishments, but I have never seen one as well-run as this historic inn. The house and rooms are exquisitely furnished, comfortable beyond reason, and clean as a whistle. (They even have fabulous coffee!) If you are coming to Atlanta, do yourself a favor and stay here. This is truly one of the best B & B places in America. (Surrounded by incredible restaurants, too!)
So what else is new? Well, by now most of you have heard the good news about my first non-fiction book. I am proud to report that THE SECOND MOURNING (The Untold Story of America’s Most Bizarre Political Murder) has been chosen as a FINALIST for the prestigious 2014 Independent Book Awards, sponsored by Foreward Reviews Magazine. The book has been nominated for the best book of the year in the Historical True Crime Category. The contest will award a Gold, Silver, and Bronze Prize at the annual conference of the American Library Association. (To be held in San Francisco on June 26th.) Anybody got any ideas about a good place to stay?
Incidentally, some of you have asked about the title of the new mystery that I am working on. (A RUN FOR THE MONEY) Yes, it does involve the wonderful and whacky world of thoroughbred racing, but that’s all I can say at this point. Most of the story is set in the Low Country, which is why we made the trip to South Carolina. Atlanta became a stop simply because I have never spent any time here, and I am really glad I got to see this great city. I have never seen a city with so much to do (museums, parks, etc.) and one that had so many good restaurants! (The world’s best Southern cuisine!) If they ever kick me out of Austin (which is always a possibility) I am going to move to Atlanta.
Well, my dear friends, I must leave you now. I am on my way to Hartsfield Airport, and then back to sunny and warm Austin. Take care, have a marvelous week, and we will speak again next Sunday…..
Love to all,