Wednesday, January 20, 2021

Authors To Watch: Al & Sunny Lockwood Authors of CRUISING THE MISSISSIPPI #authortowatch


Al and Sunny Lockwood have traveled by foot, car, rail, air and cruise ship.  They’ve camped in national parks, hiked mountain trails, photographed springtime flowers in Death Valley and wintry surf along the rugged beaches of Northern California.

They’ve watched July 4th fireworks over Lake Tahoe, explored New Mexico’s Taos Pueblo and ridden the Great Smoky Mountains Railroad through forests ablaze with autumn colors.

They’ve ridden the amazing Falkirk Wheel in Scotland, the Flam Railway in Norway and Ushuaia’s train at the end of the world.

They’ve photographed Gibraltare’s Barbary apes and Gentoo Penguins frolicking in the surf on Falkland Island beaches.

From North Carolina’s Outer Banks to New Orleans’ Bourbon Street and Nashville’s Grand Ole Opry, Al and Sunny love to wander and wonder and enjoy.

Everywhere they go, they capture unforgettable moments with their cameras and notebooks, moments to share with their readers. Their work has been published in magazines and newspapers.  It has been recognized with awards from the National Federation of Press Women, the California Newspaper Publishers Association, the Wishing Shelf Book Awards, Seven Sisters Book Awards, and The Independent Author Network Book Awards.

“We write to encourage others to travel, to take a break from their ordinary routine and discover the many rewards of traveling with your eyes wide open,” Sunny said. “Go somewhere new, even if it’s only in the next county. And have fun exploring the sites, the sounds and flavors of the place. You’ll be amazed at how much fun you’ll have.”

Al added, “We also write to share the wonder of our own travels. To help you feel what it’s like to be on a cruise ship, or wandering the back alleys of Venice, Italy. We hope our books give readers a real sense of our travel adventures.”

If you love travel, beauty, history, fabulous food, and genuine old-fashioned fun, you’ll love this amazing paddle wheel adventure along the mighty Mississippi River.

From a vibrant New Orleans’ Jazz concert at famous Preservation Hall, to the largest plantation mansion on the Mississippi (Nottoway Plantation), to eye-opening Civil War battlegrounds, this lively travel memoir brings American history and Southern culture to life.

The paddlewheeler itself is an enchanting antebellum masterpiece. Period furnishings. Tiffany lamps. An authentic steam calliope. And a huge front porch with comfy rocking chairs where you can relax and enjoy the natural wonder of America’s greatest waterway.

Riverside cities offer their own unique attractions, steeped in history and plantation grandeur.

In this warm and personal travel memoir you’ll learn things about America you never knew before.


“Cruising the Mississippi gives the reader a genuine sense that they are also on board the American Queen, exploring the small towns that line the river and luxuriating in an atmosphere that exudes the glories of a bygone era.”

— 5-stars Readers’ Favorite Book Review

“If it’s a ‘you are there’ experiential survey of the paddlewheeler environment that is desired, along with . . . Mississippi history and culture . . . then there could be no better virtual tour than Cruising the Mississippi.”

–D. Donovan, Senior Reviewer, MidwestBook Review 

“Without ever boring the reader, the authors present . . . many absorbing facts and events that simply jump off the page. From the luxury . . .of travelling on a paddlewheeler to the history of the river and many of the exciting spots they travel to . . . . I was thoroughly engaged to the last page.”

–Wishing Shelf Book Review 


Amazon →

Welcome to My Bookish Pleasures. We would love to get to know you and your book! Why did you decide to write your book, Cruising the Mississippi?

Our travel memoir, Cruising the Mississippi, was a natural result of our wonderful Mississippi River Cruise. My husband and I have traveled in Europe and South America, and we've done some great road trips around the U.S., but we'd never taken a river cruise.

            And then one day when I was just surfing the net, I discovered an opportunity we'd never thought of before -- a river cruise within the USA. And not just any old river, but the mighty Mississippi.

What were some of the more interesting things you saw while on your paddlewheel cruise?

            We started in New Orleans, that eccentric, vibrant city filled with music, beautiful architecture, and Creole cuisine. Among the experiences we enjoyed there was a live concert at Preservation Hall, famous Beignets (sprinkled with powdered sugar) enjoyed with coffee at Morning Call cafe in City Park, and a walking tour of St. Louis Cemetery #3, which contains 10,000 multi-use burial sites, all above ground.

            On this magical cruise, the steamboat itself was a historic wonder. The American Queen is the largest steamboat ever built with a big red wooden paddle wheel at the back, and two fluted black stacks at the front.  Dinner in the elegant dining room, sharing coffee on the Front Porch, attending lectures or live shows in the theater -- it was all like luxuriating in the glories of a bygone era.

            My husband loved the fact that he could go down to the engine room and watch the workings of this historic vessel as we paddled upriver.

            We visited five intriguing towns on our way to Memphis. Each held fascinating sites, from  Civil War battle grounds and Plantation mansions to intimate museums filled with local stories of drama and loss and redemption.

            In one of the cities -- Vicksburg -- you could even buy Civil War relics (such as bits of bullets).

If someone were interested in booking their own paddlewheeler cruise, where would they start?

            I'd encourage interested cruisers to search the Internet for paddle wheel cruises on the Mississippi. More than one company offers river cruises in the USA. Compare the offerings and costs to see which company is most appealing.

The Covid has put a damper on most travel these days but if we were back to normal, what would you like to do next? Is there a dream travel vacation in your future?

            We're hoping to return to "normal" travel in 2022. We'd like to visit Japan. Al fought in Viet Nam so he has mixed feelings about Asia, but we're both curious about Japan. However,  the virus must be conquered by vaccination and other measures before we do any extensive traveling.

            For people who can't travel in person, we hope our book Cruising the Mississippi provides fun of armchair travel.