My favorite thing about writing is bringing people together. I love it when people read something and reach out to meet me. But I also love building communities of people who like to interact with each other. It’s work, and I don’t always feel like I do the best job these days, but I made up for it on Saturday night.

MTM and I threw a party for Kate Shrewsday and her family. It was an opportunity for Kate to meet some readers who found her writing through mine. She also got to meet other people with whom she’s interacted on my site.

Twenty people showed up at our place for frogmore stew, pinxtos, and drinks, and they mingled with Kate and her family for several hours. Given that I was playing hostess, I have no photos.

(Okay. Really. I was too busy stuffing my face with frogmore stew and the insane pimiento cheese Marshall Deutsch made.)

I love that reading can create bonds and unite people. Whenever I despair on this path I’ve taken, I try to remember how many friends I’ve made, how many other people have met because I decided to write or to read.

If you’ve never heard of Frogmore Stew, it’s an indigenous South Carolina dish. One pot. Dump on newspaper. Eat with fingers. Swipe everything into the trash at the end. The perfect main course for a party.

MTM made the recipe here: Beaufort Stew Recipe




Yesterday’s Meriwether Lewis Birthday Month Trivia Question: WHO WAS THE OFFICIAL COMMANDER OF THE LEWIS AND CLARK EXPEDITION?

ANSWER: Meriwether Lewis was. He insisted that William Clark be named co-captain, and he always treated Clark as an equal on the expedition. However, the US government never awarded Clark that title, and they paid him at a lesser rate than they paid Lewis.


To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis is just $2.99 on Kindle during August in celebration of Meriwether Lewis’ Birthday Month.

Click here to read an excerpt.

Or click below to buy it.


To check out the entire Meriwether Lewis Birthday Month Series, follow the links below:

Lewis and Clark: Screwing Their Way Across a Continent
Lewis and Clark and Sex Bombs
Who Was Meriwether Lewis Godfather?
If Meriwether Lewis Had Lived to be 80
Lewis and Clark and Old Blue Eyes
The Lion Will Lie Down With the Lamb
My Natchez Trace Walk Featured in We Proceeded On
Dead People Follow Me And They Talk To Me
Is Suicide the Final Arbiter of a Life. For Robin Williams. And Meriwether Lewis.
WordPress Is Killing Me
Fate’s Fickle Fingering
Happy Birthday Meriwether Lewis
I Just Can’t Come
Guardians of the Neighborhood
Did the Vikings Walk the Natchez Trace?
I’m an Idiot Who Doesn’t Do Details
Friendship Makes the World Go Around

Maybe she wore a pillbox hat. A tailored sheath. Gloves would’ve been appropriate, given her precious cargo.

Whatever she wore, when she showed up with a vat of white sangria, the Beaufort Book Bashers treated her with Camelot-like awe. Or they made fun of her with Kennedy-esque wit. Or they lubricated their book discussion with tequila-fueled hallucinations.

Her white sangria became the group’s Kennedy Punch. In impeccable Southern fashion, it’s usually served in a real punch bowl with a ladle, though after a couple of hits of this stuff, I wouldn’t be surprised if people just dunked their empty glass into the bowl for a refill.

Basher Carole Ingram was kind enough to share the recipe with me. I hope you’ll raise a glass in honor of the Beaufort Book Bashers at your next book club event.

Pillbox hat optional.


beaufort book bashers kennedy punch recipe


Yes. The handwritten ingredients go into the bowl right before serving. Imagine how much fun your book club (or any club, for that matter) could have with this recipe.


If you’re a member of a book club, this post is the first of a periodic series that will feature YOU. I’d love to chronicle the story of how your book club came to be. If you have a favorite book club recipe, I’d love to share it here. Any other off-the-wall traditions? Send those along, too.

Submit your book club story to mystories(at)andrawatkins(dot)com.

Not in a book club? No worries. You know plenty of people who are. Share this post with your book club friends, and encourage them to participate.


Latest review of To Live Forever: An Afterlife Journey of Meriwether Lewis

amazon review

Download your digital copy for $4.99 at your favorite online outlet below.


Meriwether Lewis visited Dr. Benjamin Rush in Philadelphia on the eve of his big journey with the Corps of Discovery. Lewis was the team’s de facto doctor, and he learned at the feet of Dr. Rush.

Dr. Rush was a big fan of a special kind of medicine: purgatives. Things that, when ingested, gave the victim a big ole case of the runs. His favorite purgative was a pill of his own creation.

The Thunderclapper. (Just imagine where it got its name.)

Dr. Rush believed the Corps of Discovery needed to purge often. He sent hundreds of his poopy pills along with Lewis. At over 50% mercury, it’s a wonder the whole Corps didn’t die of mercury poisoning. They took Thunderclappers. A lot.

In a nod to the Corps of Discovery, I’m toasting my 34-day walk with a Thunderclapper. Mine’s a drink, one I had created just for my novel.

I was really Method about the whole process. I wandered into The Belmont, my favorite Charleston watering hole, and I plonked down at the bar in front of Brad Cline. He listened to my crazy idea for a Thunderclapper: a drink for a dead guy; has to use liquors primarily available in the early 1800s; must burn from start to finish.

Brad rubbed his chin and told me to come back the following Monday.


On a Monday night, this is what I guzzled at least three versions of—Brad Cline’s Thunderclapper Recipe:

thunderclapper drink, andra watkins, to live forever an afterlife journey of meriwether lewis

(I may have had more than three, but this drink packs such a wallop. I really don’t remember much after the first one.)

Whether you choose a Thunderclapper or some other beverage this evening, I hope you’ll raise a glass to my poor feet. I don’t even think a Thunderclapper can numb them for what I’m getting ready to do.

Here’s to Meriwether Lewis. Here’s to the Natchez Trace. And here’s to you, Dear Reader. Thank you for being here.