I promised some good news, Dear Reader. The life of an author is lots and lots and LOTS of no. Especially when the author is bullheaded.

Like me.

It takes doggedness to get people to say yes, and those yeses are the building blocks of good news. I’ve always wanted to see my name listed with a famous author or several. We nobodies dream of rubbing shoulders with somebodies, because maybe their writing juju will rub off on us.

Last week, Humanities Tennessee invited me to be a featured author at the 2015 Southern Festival of Books in Nashville. Along with the likes of these people. Right here.

good news southern festival of books

The Southern Festival of Books is one of the oldest author-to-reader book events in the country. It isn’t the first time I applied to a festival and was ignored or told no. I submitted Not Without My Father to several such events this year.

But to be invited to one of the longest-running book festivals in the United States? And see my name listed with sensations like Rebecca Wells and Scott Westerfeld?


If you’re anywhere near Nashville on October 9 – 11, 2015.

If you’re looking for an excuse to be there.

Come see whether I can hold my stuff together
with the Big Dawgs.

Because I think I’ll embarrass myself every time I turn around and bump into another writing idol.


This good news is only the beginning……………I have more………….stay tuned.


Back in November, MTM broke his collarbone due to someone else’s stupidity. Sticks. Stones. Was it the stress of being his nursemaid or the parasite living in my right eye that caused me to almost go blind?

I still don’t know.

MTM was released from his surgeon today. He’s free to do push-ups. Or lift weights. But mostly, he wants to hop on the bike again.

Horror and worry for me.

I stopped taking prednisone last week. While I’ll likely have a small blind spot in my right eye forever, it’s in the periphery. I didn’t lose my eyesight altogether, but I found about ten extra pounds.

Thanks, steroids!

We’re both grateful for the notes, the e-mails, and the expressions of both sympathy and righteous anger. MTM’s shoulder may never be the same. I might not see everything in front of me. But we got through the most stressful time of our ten year marriage. We stayed on schedule……..well, mostly on schedule.

Natchez Trace: Tracks in Time
will launch March 15, 2015.


It’s late because I couldn’t see to proof it. And I’m almost never home. Still, I hope you’ll mark your calendars. I’m proud of my photography collection. An 8×8 glossy paperback, it will be available online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble for $19.99. You can also request it at any bookstore or library.


If you’ve read my books, the pictures are a fitting compliment to both stories. And if you haven’t, they might inspire you. The book would also make a lovely gift for the visual people in your lives.

You might inspire someone
to Make a Memory
on the Trace.

No Make a Memory visit to the Trace
is complete without my books!

Not Without My Father: One Woman's 444-Mile Walk of the NatchezTo Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether LewisGet your copies of To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis and Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace by heading to my


Andra Watkins Not Without My Father Back Cover

Drowning. I’m drowning in books. Advance reader copies of Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace. I’m part of a crack team of crazies: publisher, publicist and author. We’re working together to get Not Without My Father covered everywhere on launch day – January 15, 2015!

But I don’t think it’s fair for a bunch of strangers to read my book first. Not when so many of you were practically walking beside me on the Natchez Trace.


The first twenty-five commenters that start their comment with “I’M IN!” on this post today only will receive a signed advance reader copy (ARC) of Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace.

If you start your comment with “I’M IN!” then you AGREE TO DO THE FOLLOWING:

  1. You agree to read the book between today (October 29, 2014) and November 30, 2014.
  2. You agree to add the book to your current Goodreads reading list and write a review on Goodreads here: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/23436149-not-without-my-father 
  3. You agree to purchase a copy of Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace for yourself or for someone else on launch day: January 15, 2015. (The final version will have extras, including the first chapter of I Am Number Thirteen, the sequel to To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis. I can’t force you to purchase the book, but I know you understand why that’s important.) IF YOU CANNOT PURCHASE THE BOOK ON JANUARY 15, 2015, you agree to send a link to purchase with a strong endorsement to five readers in your life on launch day.

Please do not publish reviews on your blogs before January 15, 2015. (But please do publish your review on Goodreads ASAP.)

Please do not share images of the cover of Not Without My Father: One Woman’s 444-Mile Walk of the Natchez Trace on any social media site before January 15, 2015. However, you may post teaser images of a small portion of the cover wherever you like (as I have done by example in this post.)

Please respect the work that went into creating this book. Do not loan the ARC to your friends/relations/enemies to read when you finish and do not list your free ARC for sale anywhere or donate it to a used bookstore. (All reasons why most authors make negative $2.50 per word written.)

If you love the book and can’t wait to share it with your friends/relations/enemies, PLEASE wave your advance copy in their faces and say, “Na-na-na-boo-boo! I got to read this awesome book early, and you can’t get it until January 15, 2015!”

Multiple comments do not constitute multiple entries.

If you cannot perform the tasks listed above, please do not say “I’M IN!”

Thank you for reading and for your excitement about Not Without My Father. I’m terrified of what you will think about this book, Dear Reader……..but that won’t stop me from flinging myself and it off the cliff.

Good luck!