Top 5 List & Contest: Winter Austin

Winter AustinToday we welcome Winter Austin to Romancing the Book.  Before we get to Winter’s Top 5 Places to Visit in Iowa, let’s learn a little more about her and her newest release.

Winter Austin perpetually answers the question “were you born in the winter?” with a flat “nope.” Living in the middle of Nowheresville, Iowa, with her husband, four teenagers, and two crazy dogs, Winter is trying to juggle a career while writing deadly romantic thrillers.

Find Winter Austin at, on Facebook, and on Twitter @WinterAustin


Born to Die is the second book in my McIntire County series—it’s Deputy Cassy Rivers and FBI agent Boyce Hunt’s book. Readers met Cassy—pronounced like Cass-ie—and Boyce in the first book, Atonement. These two have a history and just can’t seem to stay away from each other. When a bank robbery brings Boyce to Eider, Cassy finds herself doing her best to avoid him and still do her job. Murder ensues, and the pair find that their cases are beginning to interlock. With each encounter, Cassy and Boyce must face their greatest fears, and the truth about their relationship.

Born to Die, like Atonement, came about due to some events that took place almost ten years ago. It happened while my husband was deployed, and I knew one day I’d write something about it. I’m not being specific because it’s a bit of a spoiler.

Up next is book 3 of the McIntire County series, Sins of the Father. This is a book that will follow two characters readers will meet in Born to Die.

Top 5 Places to Visit in Iowa

I’m a true blue Iowan. For the whole of my life, I’ve lived here. And as an Iowan, I’ve heard it all from people about traveling through our fly-over state. The biggest complaint makes me laugh: “Iowa is so flat and there’s nothing to see.” My answer: “Get off of I-80, geesh!” There is so much more to Iowa than endless fields of corn or beans, intermittent with the stinky large hog buildings. And the Hawkeye/Clone state isn’t all that flat. Come visit, and while you’re here, check out these 5 awesome attractions. Believe me, you won’t regret it.

5. Amana Colonies

Made up of seven villages that make you feel like you’re in 1850s Germany. While a tourist destination these days, it’s still a lovely place to visit where you can get authentic German food and still hear “Willkommen.” Check out the quint shops and bring home some of the tasty wares. Oh, and did you or your parents once own an Amana washer or drier? Well, guess where it came from? Yup, Iowa.

4. The Villages of Van Buren County

The whole county of Van Buren is one wonderful, historical pit stop after another. Famished? Try out The Bonaparte Retreats fabulous home-cooked meal while studying the interior of what was once a grain mill. Browse through the riverfront stores of local craftsmen and women in Bentonsport then head over to Keosauqua to tour the Hotel Manning and Pearson House, which was a stop on the Underground Railroad. And while you’re at it, go check out Cantril’s Dutchman’s Store and stock up.

3. The American Gothic House

While a lot of homes that dot Iowa where celebrities and politicians alike were born or raised, the most famous home of all is located in Eldon, Iowa. Made popular in the painting “American Gothic,” the house still garners a lot of attention for those seeking their own “American Gothic” photo.

2. The Loess Hills

These hills were formed by glacial movement and thawing, and prove to one and all that Iowa is not flat. The hilly valley was once home to pre-historic animals and humans, the evidence in their habituation being left behind with fossils and human tools and burial sites.

1. Iowa State Fair

Touted as one of the largest state fairs, and one of the oldest, the Iowa State fair always ranks high as one of the best state fairs to attend. Sample everything under the sun that can be fried, hit up the Cattleman’s booth for some of the best beef the state has to offer, or tiptoe next door and consume some of the greatest pork, of which Iowa is the largest producer. Then head over the dairy barn and oooh and ahhh over the world-famous butter cow. Going to the Iowa State fair is an experience one should not pass up.


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4 thoughts on “Top 5 List & Contest: Winter Austin

  1. JoAnne Weiss says:

    I passed your list on to my sister. Her husband’s family came from Iowa and she’s been there a few times for visits.
    I enjoyed book two in the series. I’m looking forward to reading Atonement.

    • Thank you, JoAnne. I just spent all day yesterday at the state competition for National History Day at Iowa’s state capitol and learned some more interesting facts about my state.

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