Stories Of the Heart-Amanda at the Fair & Giveaway

"Our  State Fair is a great State Fair,
Don't miss it, don't even be late!"~ Rogers & Hammerstein

Of course, I'm talking about the granddaddy--the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in all of America...
The Iowa State Fair!

A bit of trivia: 

Originally published in 1932, Iowa native, Phil Stong wrote the novel "State Fair", inspiring three movies, one written by the famous duo of Rogers &

Moved to its current location in Des Moines in 1886, it encompasses 445 acres, 160 of which are beautiful, wooded campgrounds.
The Iowa State Fairgrounds were added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1987.

The fair is held during the second week in August annually and kicks off with a spectacular Fair parade in downtown Des Moines, the Wednesday before the opening day.

 The majority of the schools in Iowa do not start until fair time is over--in part, due to the high numbers of families participating in the fair in various competitions.

Over 40,000 ribbons, banners, and rosettes are handed out during the fair from sheep, pigs, horses, and rabbits to photography, art, pies, jellies and jams!

This year the State Fair boasts over 70 foods on a stick! From giant pickles to fried twinkies and hard-boiled eggs to turkey legs as big as the Rock's bicep!

The Iowa State Fair is listed in the N.Y.T best-selling book, 1000 Places to See Before You Die
The atmosphere is Americana at its best. Even with the changes and improvements made each year the fair endeavors to keep as much of the 1800's "feel" to the fair as possible. There's the midway lined with vendors offering food for every palette, the multi-colored neon signs and lights of the fair and carnival rides, and bright colored sky glider gondolas drifting lazily overhead.
Butter sculptures have been a part of the Iowa State fair since 1911. Fun fact: The former butter sculptor, Duffy Lyon was nephew to Phil Stong, author of the book, State Fair.
Memories for me include seeing the Jackson Five for the first time at the Grandstand. Taking my kids to the fair when they were young and seeing the animals, tasting the honey lemonade, scoping out the fresh-baked bucket of gooey chocolate chip cookies in the Varied Industries building.

(*my thanks to good friend, Kathy Francis for the photography)
And as the sky turns a cotton-candy pink and blue, we'd sit on the retaining wall of at the end of the Midway savoring a pork chop on a stick dinner washed down  with an icy cold sarsaparilla from the old time market. 

Now my kids are grown and I have the privilege of watching my grandchildren's eyes wide with amazement at the sights and sounds of the fair and enjoying those same cookies as much as ever.

For others memories may include competing in the fair queen pageant, performing on the Bill Riley stage, competing in the pie-eating contest, the beard growing competition, or the cow chip throwing. Oh, and there is the pig-calling contest! Of course, if you miss a day or two you can always catch up with the IPTV recap of the fair, including visits by political candidates and on occasion, over the years, our nations presidents have flown in to check things out.

The sights, the smells, the fireworks blasting in the sky after the grandstand performances is all part and parcel of the Iowa State Fair experience! I invite you to our Iowa State Fair. I promise its worth the trip!

Do you have a favorite fair time experience?
Share here for a chance to win your choice of a digital or print of the book, "State Fair" by Phil Stong!

*Winner announced here on August 21st!
Be sure to include your email address!!


Meet Stephany Tullis, Chandler County, and A New Christmas "Season of Suspense"

Welome GLIAS friends. I’m excited today to tell you about my new romantic suspense holiday-themed Box Set, “A Season of Suspense: A Chandler County Christmas.” This set contains six brand new, heart-racing romantic suspense stories by six award winning authors—who just happen to be me and five of my friends and fellow authors!

I’m especially thrilled to introduce you to author Stephany Tullis, one of the masterminds behind
“Season of Suspense” and, in fact, one of the architects of the entire Chandler County world where the stories of SOS are set.

Stephany is a USA Today and Amazon Best Selling cinematic writer of edgy inspirational fiction. Her books cross several genres including Women's Fiction, Contemporary Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Satire. She currently lives in Metro Atlanta.

You can check out her #1 Best selling book “Blue Lady’s Mission Under Fire”

Stephany, along with former GLIAS crew member PJ Fiala, created the world of Chandler County several years ago, and have since welcomed more than a dozen authors who’ve written Chandler County romantic suspense novels.

The fictional Chandler County is located between Louisville and Lexington KY, an area largely affected by the Kentucky Derby and the goings on surrounding that iconic race. It’s two main towns, Chandlerville and Bourbonville are rich in culture, diversity, horse ranches, bourbon distilleries, politics, their respective businesses and business owners. Guests float in and out of town as the Derby approaches and also in November, when the Chandler County Birthday Bash rolls around.

The stories in “A Season of Suspense” are all short novellas set in the Christmas holiday season. The box set will release on November 4, 2019, but it’s available for PRE-ORDER now— and there are a number of awesome things that happen when you pre-order from any online retailer. Read on for more info.
 Here’s a little about the six amazing authors and stories you’ll find in “A Season of Suspense.”

Stephany Tullis: “Missing Joy” – They came seeking love, peace & joy but will they find it in the midst of the Storm?

Lizbeth Selvig “Missing One Angel”Finding Angel was their second priority. Staying alive to do it was their first.

Traci Wooden-Carlisle: “Missing Under the Mistletoe”Love at death’s door. Not her first choice…but it could end up being the best choice.

Cherime MacFarlane: “Missing Family”One minute he was the heir. Now he doesn’t have a family.

Dionne Grace: “Missing You for Christmas”Tyler was intrigued by his new neighbor, but would the dilemma that materialized be his undoing?

Tearra Rhodes: “Missing Wishes”Could one missing wish hold the key to her heart even while another holds the key to a tragic mystery?

If that sounds intriguing, here’s the place to go:

And once you pre-order, you’re eligible to receive six free bonus books from the SOS authors.
Follow this link after ordering http://bit.ly/SOSFreebie to get instructions for downloading the freebies!

But the coolest thing that happens when you pre-order is that you’ll be teaming up with the SOS authors to help rescue and rehome retired racehorses. A SEASON OF SUSPENSE is partnering with CANTER Minnesota / CANTER USA, a wonderful non-profit dedicated to rescuing, rehabilitating, and rehoming ex-racehorses. 50% of pre-sale profits will go to this deserving organization. So pre-order and help a racehorse! To date CANTER has found new loving homes and new careers for over 25,000 former racetrack thoroughbreds!

I hope we’ve intrigued you with this upcoming set of romantic suspense stories. 
GIVEAWAY: If you’d like to sample some of what Chandler County has to offer—just leave us a comment about your favorite suspense novels, TV shows, or movies. What is your favorite whodunnit? Or who is your favorite detective or sleuth? I have two Chandler County e-books for on commenter:  Stephany’s “Missing Pieces” and my (Lizbeth’s) “Missing by a Heartbeat.”

And if, for fun, you’d like to know a little more about Stephany’s novella “Missing Christmas Joy,” and mine “Missing One Angel” from the upcoming box set, you can read the blurbs below.

Missing Christmas Joy
By Stephany Tullis
In this story of suspense, romance, family ties, and sinuous passions, USA Today Bestselling author Stephany Tullis weaves a page turning holiday adventure.

When Ms. Isabel Johnson decides to celebrate the first year of her thriving B & B business with the first annual Holly Jolly Holiday Couples Retreat, she has no idea that her life will never be the same. An idyllic spot with over 250 acres and home to now four generations of Johnsons, Ms. Isabel runs the Home on the Ranch B & B with the help of Manager, Joyeaux Noelle, Head Chef, Louis St. Cloud and new hire handyman, Frankie Sanders.

In the spirit of Christmas and despite dire storm warnings that predict the worst weather the county has faced in 10 years, the influx of jubilant couples descend on the festively decorated grounds in search of love, peace, joy, fulfillment and in some cases renewed relationships. When the highly recommended retreat leaders find themselves stranded at the Louisville International Airport due to strong winds, blowing snow and building ice, Ms. Isabel twists her grandson’s (Dr. Jared Johnson) arm and convinces him and his wife Marissa Johnson to co-lead the holiday Retreat. 

An unexpected visitor disrupts the intended romantic and Christmas spirited festivities not only exposing family secrets but threatening the lives of Retreat guests. To further complicate matters, when Mr. James, the postman, delivers a special priority Christmas card to Ms. Johnson, her inner voice warns that this will be a Christmas like none other. 

By Lizbeth Selvig
As an abused child and a serial runaway, Mallory Carrick experienced early on the dark side of the foster care system and the tough world of life on the streets. But all that is behind her since finding a job and a family at Crosby Racing. Based at the racing stable’s home, Sanctuary Pond Farm, Mallory’s bright and cheerful personality, as well as her empathy for animals and people alike, makes her everyone’s favorite confidante and friend. And nobody has fallen for her harder than Sawyer Hawkins.

Sawyer, too, has a home at Sanctuary Pond where owner Winn Crosby has built a super-successful stable with the help of young adults needing second chances. Like Mallory, Sawyer had a rough start in life. Working with horses changed him, but finding Mallory Carrick saved him. He’s more than ready to build a future with her, and she wants the same.

Enter precocious, difficult, and homeless thirteen-year-old Angelika Coltrane. “Angel” certainly does not live up to her nickname, and when she stows away in a horse trailer bound for Sanctuary Pond, she starts a chain of events that threatens everyone in her path. Mallory immediately empathizes with the girl and is the only one to bond with her, inviting her to stay at the farm with her. Sawyer knows they aren’t ready to take on a runaway. But it’s holiday season and even he doesn’t have the heart to send a girl named Angel away at Christmastime.

But Angel isn’t simply a difficult teen. She has a secret she’ll only hint at. The crime she’s witnessed makes her a danger to herself and anyone around her. Just when the holidays start to mean something special, when her new surroundings offer people who actually understand her, and she gets the chance she’s always dreamed of to work around horses, Angel’s past catches her and she’s kidnapped.

Mallory and Sawyer must find out why she’s gone and where she’s been taken, but the danger tests their young love in a way that might destroy it. They have to decide if they possess the strength—or even the desire—to search for Angel before it’s too late for all of them.


The Top 10 Best Birthday Presents for a Writer

Today is my birthday and I thought I’d share the top things that would be on my “author’s perfect present wish list.”  I think this list is relatively universal for all writers, and you’ll see that some of them are slightly selfish and some are not. If you know a writer – just keep this list handy. You’ll be able to make his or her day, I promise!

Spoiler: do read all the way down to Number One – because that one is definitely NOT about me; it’s all about you!

#10. A project she loves.
A “real” writer can write about anything, but an inspired writer needs a project she’s fallen in love with. I’m working on three projects I love. The first is a novella called “Missing One Angel” that will be released on November 4, 2019 as part of a cool, romantic suspense box set. I’ll tell you more about that tomorrow.

#9. Time
I’m guessing this birthday wish wouldn’t even be limited to writers! Don’t we all want more time? Still, there’s never enough hours in any given day or week to get all the writing projects, marketing, and reader events in and done without pushing up against a deadline. Writer’s totally crave time!

#8 The ability to say “no.”
Yeah. Not every writer has this problem—but extroverted ones (like I am) do. We love to help others. We love to participate in every reader event. We love to talk to our readers online. We love to volunteer. Plus—we love our families and we don’t want to say no to anything that might take away time from them (especially if there are grandchildren involved—just sayin’). So—we would love to get a genie in a lamp that would pop out every time we started to say “yes” and help us re-evaluate.

#7 A supportive family
This is so important for a writer and, I have to admit (or maybe brag?) that I have THE most supportive family in the world. My mother reads all my books. My brother—the last guy you’d ever think would read a romance—is literally the first one to finish any new book I publish. And my husband? He tells me all the time how proud he is of me—and there’s nothing better than that. PLUS HE COOKS. Need I say more? So—nobody needs to buy me this present; I already have it!

#6 Great writing partners
We call these amazing people critique partners and beta readers. Our fondest wish is to have a handful of people who will be honest but kind when they read our manuscript and who help it become the very best it can be. I started out my author journey with an amazing critique group and the four of us are all published! We no longer meet, but I still have great beta readers.

#5 Fans who aren’t your mom
It’s great to have family support, but there is still nothing more gratifying than having someone who isn’t related to you at all tell you that your book made them laugh, made them happy or, the most amazing thing of all: tell you that your book made them think about something differently, or got them through a rough time. I would definitely take as many iterations of this present as I could get. (I.e., this is a selfish desire!)

#4 Having your mom be your biggest fan
If you’re lucky enough to be an author whose mom is still alive, then I don’t think there’s anything better than having her tell you that she loves your books. My mom is 90 years old and reads every one of my stories. Then she raves about them. Then she sends them to all her friends! At that point—there is nothing that makes me feel better about myself or my writing. As old as I am, I still melt over my mom’s praise! (So—I already have this present, too!)

#3 A dedicated review team
Every author in the world craves a group of fans who want to read Advanced Reader Copies of her book and then be willing to post reviews. Seriously, this is not just a selfish wish, it’s the Holy Grail of author-dom. Without super fans, books don’t sell. So—again, this is a present that would keep on giving and an author would love!

#2 Nice reviews
This follows number three above, of course. Every author loves a good review, because it validates all the work and love we put into our books. That’s another selfish wish :-D But, no author expects to be able to please every reader every time, so most of us aren’t upset by the odd one- or two-star review. The only thing we really ask? If you can’t finish the book, don’t give it a review. That’s not really fair. A “Did Not Finish” is fine. And, if you finish our book and can only give it a one-star, then go for it. That’s totally fair!

And….the #1 best birthday present for an author?
It’s one she gives! It’s to share presents with her readers.

I truly do love giving things away! So—to celebrate my birthday I have an e-copy of my most recent book “Missing by a Heartbeat” for one commenter. All you have to do is tell me what present you’d love to have on your next birthday.

Join me tomorrow here on GLIAS to hear all about my new novella, the Box Set it will be part of that you can pre-order now, the awesome bonus free books you can get when you do order, and the very special charity you can support as well when you order.  Meanwhile, thanks for stopping by here today celebrate my birthday day!