‘2017’ Category


Bobby’s Absolutely Amazing Adventures

Bobby’s Absolutely Amazing Adventures in the Capital Cities to be released in 2018.

Bobby Wiring is ten years old. He’s a fifth-grader at Lewis & Clark Elementary. And, he lives in a capital city! Imagine the excitement at Lewis & Clark when teacher Mr Wilson announces the new Social Studies project — here’s a peek into Chapter One….

Bobby slurched his feet twice over the spongy black raincatcher mat at the school entrance and headed down the hall to Room 14. He turned in at the third flag-blue door on the right where the sign said:

Bobby dropped his backpack beside his desk and started to pull out books, homework, and his green-glow gel pen. Erasable. Mr Wilson was already at the board, intent on writing some mysterious announcement with a red marker. He wrote a few words and shielded them with his writing pad. Then he lowered the pull-down United States map a few more inches, to cover the words. The students in the front row were hunched forward, heads wobbling like bobble-head dolls as they tried to follow Mr Wilson’s big brown hand scribbling up and down, up and down, the markings hidden behind the pad. Even with eyes squinting, they could not decipher the secret message. Bobby could see a few letters at the right side of the board, a spot the map didn’t totally cover.

What did that mean? It was just like Mr Wilson to do something this way, to catch their attention from the first minute of class. He was the coolest teacher of Bobby’s life. He was big, he was strong, and he was smart. Before he was a teacher, he was a Marine, and he expected strict order in the classroom. Except, he was funny too. He could do the greatest accents you ever heard. When they studied another country in geography, Mr Wilson would slip into accent. Spanish, French, Russian, Italian, Chinese, and even the clicking noises of the little people in Africa’s Kalahari Desert. Mr Wilson had walked on all seven continents, a goal Bobby had set for himself. He knew he would do it, too. After all, he’d already been to both American continents. Two down, five to go!

Mr Wilson finished writing just as Mrs Green pushed Quang-Bao Mark’s wheelchair into his designated space in front of Bobby. She gave Bobby a knuckle-scrunch on the head and waved at the class before she scooted back out the door. Quang-Bao Mark Green was Bobby’s next-door neighbor and best buddy since before either of them could remember. He had never been able to walk, but he’d attended Lewis & Clark since Kindergarten. His wheelchairs got bigger as he grew, and the latest model had a nifty flip over desk top. All of his school supplies and books were in special side pouches. “The saddle bags on my horse,” he called them. His Uncle Levi had designed another attachment he wasn’t allowed to bring to school – Electronic Elmer – with music player, video games and even a GPS for global position satellite tracking. There was also a telescope mount for backyard stargazing. Quang-Bao Mark and Bobby were nuts about the stars.

Bobby pushed Quang-Bao Mark to Mr Chau’s grocery on Saturdays for treats – “Mr Chau’s for chow” they said. And Bobby pushed him to their baseball games, bats and gloves stashed in the Sports side pouch – the Dugout they called it — with drinks in the mini-cooler on the other side of the wheelchair. Quang-Bao Mark was the team statistician and record keeper; Bobby played first. “Stop trouble before it begins,” his Grandma Lucinda always said. He figured a good first-base player had a chance to do just that.

The 8:30 bell rang and everyone sat up straight, all eyes up front, waiting for Mr Wilson to speak.

“Bonjour class,” he began.

“FRENCH!” they called back to him. That was their morning game, to guess the language he spoke.

“Buenos dias!” he offered, and they quickly shouted “SPANISH!”

“Mangandáng umága!” Mr. Wilson came back. There was a moment of silence, then Lita DePano spoke up.

“That’s Tagalog Mr Wilson. That’s the first words I hear every morning when my Mom wants me to get out of bed!” Lita’s remark brought a laugh from the class and a smile from Mr Wilson.

“Correct Lita,” he said, slipping into an accent. “That’s a ‘Good Morning’ in Tagalog, a language of the Philippines. You are fortunate to have a mother teaching you to be fluent in two languages. Can you say ‘Please’ in Pilipino?”

“Pakisuyò is ‘Please,’” Lita answered.

“How about ‘I am sleepy’?” queried Mr Wilson.

“Inaantòk ako,” said Lita.

“And there you have it,” Mr Wilson grinned. “Pakisuyò, Inaantòk ako! Please, I am sleepy! Let me sleep another sampû minutes!”

“Yes!” Lita laughed, “ten more minutes of sleep!” Everybody was laughing now, in an unusually good mood for a rainy November Monday. Mr Wilson stepped back towards the board and attention once again focused on the secret message behind the map.

What was it?

“Class, we are beginning a new tradition here at Lewis & Clark,” Mr Wilson told them. He pointed to the big hand-lettered sign that always hung over his desk.

See The Possibilities!

“You are about to have an opportunity to see a LOT of possibilities,” he continued. “Your principal, Mrs. Nielsen, has asked all of the 4th and 5th teachers to announce the Greatest Social Studies Project ever. For the first time, Lewis & Clark will participate in the National competition. Here it is.”

He gave the map a tug, and it rolled up into its holder, revealing, at last, the message.

© Linda Lou Burton 2017. Your World – Know It! Show It! Grow It!


McNutt Street Books Releases Patchwork Love

True family is a patchwork…of love’s surprising shapes.

Patchwork Love — A story about a man, a dog, and the two lost children who help everyone find their way.

Famous author Merit Brown moved to a secluded cabin in the woods after suffering tragic loss. Susie is the collie who showed up on his porch, badly injured. His only companion, she contentedly wears the patch he made for her damaged eye as they walk the path to the creek every morning before Merit quietly settles down to write.

Until the morning they find two abandoned children – a girl huddled by the creek bank who won’t speak, and a little boy hidden under bushes in the water and the mud, unconscious and nearly dead.

Suddenly Merit and Susie are back in the world of cruelties, and kindnesses. As they help Jonathan and Trish on a desperate search for home, the people of the southern mountain town of Wake Robin reach out, discovering within themselves the true meaning of family.

Burton paints powerful portraits of the good, and the bad, in a vivid novel that has the horror and suspense of a kidnapping, a rape, a murder, a suicide. But at its shining heart is a story of empowerment.

Patchwork Love radiates with warmth, hope, and what it means to find your brave. Courage – that’s the most important thing.


Linda Lou Burton Bio

I shall be telling this with a sigh somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood, and I— I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference. Robert Frost, The Path Not Taken

Linda Lou Burton is a fearless explorer, always on the lookout for new adventures, new friends, and new stories. In her travels from the Arctic Circle to Antarctica, she photographed the Midnight Sun on the first day of summer at each end of the Earth – in the same year! She also crossed the Andes in a taxi, conversed eye-to-eye with penguins on their rocky turf, tracked polar bears (in a Hummer with a guide, of course), and had a quick breakfast at the northernmost McDonalds in the world.

In her two-year Journey Across America (2012-2013) with her traveling cats Alex the Crabby Tabby, and big black Jack, aka El Grande Lovebug, she lived in the capital cities in all 50 states, connecting with thousands as she gained an insider’s perspective on how people feel about “home,” wherever that might be.

Born in Jasper, Alabama and newly settled in Arkansas with blue-eyed Katy cat, Burton claims two more places as “home.”

“During twenty years of living alongside the Tennessee River in Chattanooga I raised three sons, earned a BS in Psychology from the University of Tennessee and taught there, owned a publications business, wrote a column for The Chattanooga Times, and authored Chattanooga Great Places and other travel guidebooks.

I lived in Seattle, with snow-capped Mt Rainier in view just to the south, for almost a quarter century, where I studied both Communications and History at the University of Washington and worked there, operated The Golden Apple B&B, and welcomed eleven amazing grandchildren into my life.

I came to Arkansas because my brother found a journal kept by our third great-grandfather William Irwin, who led a party on an ill-fated attempt to emigrate from Alabama to Texas in 1849. Their journey sadly ended here in wooded graves, but my new Arkansas home – a historic house smack dab between two universities — feels to me like a good place to dig more deeply into history, to reflect and spin the stories out.”

Burton now chairs Capital Cities USA, a nonprofit dedicated to humanities education, and invites students, teachers, researchers, and everyone interested in learning about the United States to visit the Capital Cities website.


Burton’s next travel adventure involves visiting world capitals– beginning with the northernmost capital in the world, Reykjavik, Iceland, and the southernmost, Wellington, New Zealand.

Her next writing project is a social studies book for children – Bobby’s Absolutely Amazing Adventures in the Capital Cities.

Patchwork Love is her first novel, available now at Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook format, to be followed by a fictionalized account of the Irwin journey that ended so tragically in Arkansas in 1849 with ten deaths, based on journals and letters kept through the ages. The focus will be on the survivors — two pregnant women, a four-year-old girl, and a slave named Penny.

Watch for all releases on the McNutt Street Books website and at Amazon.com.



It’s Not Horseshoes

Linda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, ArkansasPatchwork Love, by Linda Lou Burton. It isn’t horseshoes. It is a beautiful story about a man, a dog, and the two lost children who help everyone find their way. Famous author Merit Brown is the man, Susie is the collie dog with the eye patch, and Jonathan and Trish are the two lost children. It’s a story about courage, about finding your true family and finding your brave. It’s a story with heart, wrapped in mystery, filled with characters you will care about, and more than a few twists and turns. It’s a great read, with an expressive cover, no matter which capital city you live in!

So why am I talking about horseshoes? I’m talking about precision. The rules of horseshoes seem simple enough – you simply stand back a prescribed number of feet and throw a horseshoe at a stake. No horse is involved, no racquet, no ball, no net. And scoring, well, scoring is interesting.The closest shoe to the stake gets 1 point. If you have two shoes closer than any of your opponent’s, you get 2 points.

Notice the word “closest” in there. Just getting close gets you points. Even getting closer than your opponent counts for something! Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “close doesn’t count except in horseshoes.” Let me tell you friend, it doesn’t count in printing a book cover either.

How does a person design a perfect book cover? » read more


Down The Rabbit Hole

Linda Burton posting from Arkadelphia, Arkansas – Remember Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll? Alice was having a perfectly pleasant afternoon when suddenly a rabbit with a pocket-watch went scurrying by. And Alice was struck with the notion of following him, jumping straight down into a rabbit hole. And falling, and falling, and falling. Breathless, and wide-eyed though. The adventure of her life!

“It’s no use going back to yesterday,” Alice said at the end of it. “I was a different person then.”

So Miss Alice, I know just what you mean. I’ve been perfectly happy writing non-fiction for more than fifty years. A pleasant occupation, taking me all over the world and meeting all kinds of wonderful people. Like all the great people in all 50 of our great capital cities. History. Scenery. Adventure. I have loved every minute of the research, the documentation, the “telling what I saw, and experienced.”

I’ve been a great reader too, starting back at the age of eight when I first read Little Women by Louisa May Alcott. That’s when I realized that someone actually wrote books – they didn’t just bloom like daisies on a library shelf. I knew my calling then. I wanted to be a Jo! But practical considerations guided my choices – after all, my father was an accountant, so right there you can see what turned me toward learning shorthand, and typing, and various secretarial skills. “Job security.”

Eventually though, even in the middle of raising a family, I managed to get a publications business going, doing newsletters for large corporations, and writing marketing materials for them as well. I taught college freshmen basic composition skills, I taught engineers how to write reports, and I taught businessmen how to write a good business letter. “Pursuant to” is SO not cool. That was cool.

I went on to write travel guidebooks – Chattanooga Great Places was the first. It took a year to do all the research, and pull it together. Yes, I ate in all 150 restaurants I reviewed. Yes, I went to every museum, and tourist attraction, and shopping mall. It was Chattanooga’s very first honest-to-goodness guidebook! I wrote a weekly column for The Chattanooga Times as well, focusing on travel. And since 2012, I have written at least half a million words for Capital Cities USA, living in 50 different states, sleeping in all those different beds.

But I have never written fiction. Until NOW. Until I jumped down the rabbit hole and wrote Patchwork Love.

And I feel a little bit like Alice. There is no going back to yesterday. I am hooked. The process of creating something from pure thin air makes a person reach SO DEEP, and SO HIGH, that nothing will ever be the same again. I had no idea what Louisa, and all my revered author-friends, were really all about, before this. Mark Twain was more than a very funny, and very crotchety, man. He saw something nobody else could see, and took the time to write it down, so maybe we could see it too. » read more