April 13, 2014

Stephen Brayton and Iowa

No, not the potato state. Iowa.
You know-hogs, corn, beans, cattle. Iowa.

The state is roughly quartered by Interstates 35 and 80. Biggest town and the capital is Des Moines.

Hot in the summer, cold in the winter. It's one of those states that get hit hard in the winter but nobody in the media cares until the storm passes through and threatens the East coast. Then the storm will make national news and Iowans are saying, “Hello? It happened here first.”
Iowa has the oldest college west of the Mississippi River and it happens to be my alma mater – Iowa Wesleyan in Mt. Pleasant.

Famous people from Iowa include – Tom Arnold, Bix Beidebecke, Johnny Carson, George Reeves, Buffalo Bill Cody, Simon Estes, William Frawley, Asthon Kutcher, Cloris Leachman, Glenn Miller, Donna Reed, John Wayne, Andy Williams, Meredith Wilson, Kurt Warner, Shawn Johnson, Dan Gable.

If you're coming to Iowa don't miss:
The Iowa State Fair (a variety of food-on-a-stick).
West Bend's Grotto (the Eighth Wonder of the World...well, it's called that by some people).
Oskaloosa's Lighted Christmas Parade (freeze your butt off while watching floats)
The Villisca Ax Murder House (whodunit?)
Snake Alley in Burlington (supposedly the crookedest street in the world)
Riverside (no, not for the casino but to see where James T. Kirk will be born)
The world's largest Cheeto in Algona. (No munching!)
Exotic collection of dirt in Sheldon (Now, can you dig that?)

Since this post also should feature writers let's point out Iowa authors include:
Max Allan Collins, Sara Paretsky, Robert Waller, Donald Harstad, Mike Manno, Sparkle Abbey...
and me – Stephen L. Brayton, author of three novels.
Night Shadows: a supernatural thriller.
Beta: an action mystery featuring the taekwondo instructor/private investigator Mallory Petersen.
Alpha: Mallory's second mystery.

All three novels are set in the Des Moines area using actual locations so make sure you take time to visit the spots mentioned in the stories, especially the room housing the shadows. Yes, it's a real place.

As a special thank you for stopping by today, leave a comment about your favorite thing about Iowa and I'll pick a random winner for a free copy of either Beta or Night Shadows (both are eBooks and will arrive in pdf form.)

Thanks for visiting. Please take time to visit www.stephenbrayton.com
Go Hawkeyes! (Unless you’re a Cyclone fan, then Go 'Clones!)
(All information provided by author)


  1. Hi, Stephen,

    I liked the format of your tour of Iowa: lists! Living on the East coast, we get Iowa's leftover storms, and you're right-we get all the attention! Sorry about that...

  2. Hi, Stephen,

    My younger son went to wrestling camp one summer in Iowa and liked it a lot. I didn't know Sara Paretsky ever lived in Iowa. I know she was raised in Kansas and now lives in Chicago. (She was kind enough to endorse my Kim Reynolds mysteries.) Anyway, congrats on your new novel. It looks quite intriguing.

  3. A writer with a good sense of wit. I read humor throughout your posting and am wondering if your books contains that same element. You've also manage to cover a lot about your state in so few words by naming people and places. These are familiar to many people and provides instant picture in the mind. Nice writing, tight and informative.

  4. Yes, Mary, I try to have humor temper some of the more serious aspects of my books, especially Beta and Alpha.

    Thanks all for visiting.

  5. When I lived in Idaho and told anyone outside the state, they always said, "Oh, Iowa, that's the corn state." It happened so often and in the same sentence that I quit correcting people. www.dkchristi.com Author of Ghost Orchid, & mroe

  6. Hi Stephen,
    Never been to Iowa, though I probably flew over a few times. You provided a couple incentives for a visit--the state fair (love the variety of food at those things) and the ax murder house.
    Oh, regarding those snow storms, this is one easterner who'd gladly let you keep that stuff.

  7. Stephen, you have made my day. So often we see TV news telling us about awful/damaging/extreme/ snow/ice/floods/drought/winds/heat in Missouri and/or Oklahoma/Texas/Louisiana and I want to yell "HEY it happened in Arkansas too!
    I send sympathy and thanks for showing Arkansans are not alone.

  8. Another state I've never visited, but you've made it sound like I'd better go soon! I enjoyed your post and your books sound intriguing!

  9. Hi Stephen, I'm late chiming in here. Among the Iowan authors you can include Mildred Wirt Benson who wrote a number of the original Nancy Drew mysteries under the "Carolyn Keene" name. She was also the first M.A. graduate of the U of Iowa school of journalism.

  10. Any state that gives us John Wayne has got to be good!

  11. I used to work for a company based in DesMoines, but I drove about 3 hours west to the branch office in Bettendorf every other Friday morning. What little I did get to see of Iowa reminded me a lot of rural Illinois...typically Midwestern. I had wanted to go to the U. of Iowa to do my grad work in English, but the need to make money after my B.A. ended that desire.

    We've camped at Wyalusing in the southwestern corner of Wisconsin, and as you hike along the bluffs, you can see across the Wisconsin River into Iowa. It's a very nice view, especially in the fall, when the colors are vivid.

  12. Thank you all for reading and commenting. I'll be getting in touch with the winner of a free eBook.


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