Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico Featured in The Edge Magazine

I feel like I’m tooting my own horn quite a bit this month, but how can I not share the fact that the Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico series is featured in the April/May 2023 issue of The Edge Magazine

If you aren’t in an area where you can pick up a copy from a dropspot and you want to check out the other books featured this month, you can see the issue in the digital archives HERE.

And if you are an author or tarot/oracle card creative and want to be considered for a future issue feature (or if you know someone who is), then go ahead and fill out this form HERE:

The Author and Artist Hour featuring Camille Flores

I had an amazing author interview experience with Toni Lontis last month and I’d like to share the end result!

The first half of the interview is about my experiences as an American female expat and the books I wrote for the A Woman’s Survival Guide to Rural Mexico series. Then, the topic changed to herbs, and you already know that’s a subject that literally lights me up what with my plethera of herb books (4 in English, one is Spanish, and one in the works with a tenative June release date).

As an introvert, I find it hard to put myself out there and share a bit of myself. Heck, I even use two different pen names to hide behind as an author. But Toni made it easy for me to open up about the experiences that inspired some of the books I’ve written.

You can watch the interview on Youtube:

Or listen to it as a podcast:

Or watch it on the Everyday Women’s Network:

And for any authors that are brave enough to do a live international interview, I encourage you to book a time with Toni to see what she can do for you and your writing aspirations!

Author Feature — Nicole Hanson

Today’s Author feature is Nicole Hanson from Rochester, Minnesota, author of 1 John: On Love, Obedience, and Side Effects of Salvation.

When I started writing, it was for fun and to make my sisters and cousins smile. Then, in High School, around 2010, I began writing devotional thoughts for others on my blog. Adults at church began asking when I would write a book, but I shrugged it off. I thought I needed to accomplish more before publishing, I thought I needed more experience under my belt and more candles on my birthday cakes. 

Over the years, I’ve realized those were excuses. But then I became busy with marriage, ministry, and work. In 2021, I knew it was time to write a book. It would be a devotional straight through my favorite book of the Bible (1 John), and it would include my paintings as visual cues. But between all the things vying for my attention, there wasn’t much room for research, study, and writing. I wrote whenever I could carve out time, and the book slowly began to form. 

In 2022, I was blessed to have the whole summer off. In a matter of a month, I finished the book, and the paintings, and figured out self-publishing!

My book, 1 John: On Love, Obedience, and Side Effects of Salvation, is a 23-day Christian devotional. Each day’s reading includes a scripture to read, my devotional thoughts, an application question, and one of my watercolor paintings that makes the concept from scripture more concrete and memorable. We journey through the whole letter of 1 John, exploring the themes of love, obedience, and “side effects” of our salvation. 

I am currently writing a book that will help Christians remember what God says He is faithful to do. This one will take more time, I believe, because I am reading every book of the Bible, looking for God’s promises of faithfulness. I have time set aside each week for study and writing. Those interested may sign up for book updates here: subscribepage.io/tehcMf 

The best writing advice I’ve ever received is to write the first draft and don’t expect it to be good, but to revise and edit until it’s great! This has been helpful for me because I tend to want the first draft to be publication-ready, and that’s simply not realistic.

Featured Author — Minda Gomez

Today’s featured author is Minda Gomez, who writes bilingual children’s chapter books about the multi-cultural Martinez family! She lives with her husband and three kids in a suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

The Martinez Kids Adventures are a children’s chapter book series centered around a bicultural Mexican-American family. Rico, Diego, and Araceli Martinez are three spunky bilingual siblings who live in Minnesota with their Mami and Papi.

In The Secret Door, the family discovers that their next-door neighbor, Don Toño, has developed an invention that will transform them into animals through virtual reality, simply by walking through a secret door. They travel to the forest as squirrels, the coral reef as marine animals, and the Mexican rainforest as spider monkeys. In each adventure, they make new animal friends and learn lessons that can be applied to their lives. 

In The Arctic Quest, the Martinez family is driving to Mexico to visit family for Christmas. Along the way, the kids are transported to the Arctic and turned into animals through special virtual reality sunglasses that allow them to fly, swim, and communicate with other animals. Through new challenges and friendships, they learn important lessons through their adventures. Upon arriving in Mexico, they experience a rich, warm Navidad celebration that they will never forget.

The Martinez Kids Adventures are available online through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and many other online booksellers. Links to the books can be found at my website, www.mindagomez.com.

The Martinez family is modeled after my own cross-cultural family. My husband lived in Mexico until we got married, so Spanish language and culture are an integral part of our family’s dynamics. Over the years I have made it my goal to find quality bilingual and cross-cultural books. I have come across very few books about families that look similar to mine, so it has been a joy to represent them in exciting, wholesome stories.

In addition, I wanted to represent the code-switching and natural flow between Spanish and English that takes place in a bilingual family. Spanish words are incorporated into the dialogue in context in the English book, and a glossary is available for referencing meaning and pronunciation.

My husband and I worked together on the Spanish translation of the books. English words are also incorporated into the dialogue. 

These books are tributes to the beauty of language, culture, food, and family. Spanish words are scattered throughout the story in context, offering an opportunity for readers to learn.

I want these stories to draw families together with intriguing stories that activate the imagination and inspire meaningful conversations. It is also a goal that my readers will grow in their appreciation for their own traditions and those of their neighbors.

When I wrote my first book in the summer of 2021, I did not know anything about the world of publishing, and basically had to figure it out as I went along. I did not have any idea what this would grow into, or all of the areas in which I would have to learn new skills.

One of the most challenging skills was learning to illustrate digitally on an iPad. I have always loved art but did not have experience with this medium. It has been very rewarding to develop in this area, and I find the illustration process to be incredibly engrossing. Hours can go by as I am working on one project, and it may feel like it’s only been a short time. 

The marketing process has been challenging for me as well, as I do not have any formal training in this area. I have been thankful for the way people so generously share their knowledge online. 

Currently I am working on my third chapter book, which is in the editing process. I am also working on a spin-off picture book based on one of the animal characters from my current work in progress. I work during the chances I can find between the responsibilities of parenting and my full-time teacher job. It is my goal to release these books by this summer, but that time is flexible. That is the beauty of self-publishing; my deadlines can adapt to my life.

The best writing advice I’ve ever been given is do it because you love it. I want to keep doing this because it is something I enjoy. If it starts to feel like a chore, I need to take a break. That’s the benefit of doing this for myself and not as my full-time job. Currently it brings me so much joy that I can’t imagine stopping.

You can connect with Minda here:

Author Feature–Vallean Jackson

If you’re looking for something new to read, check out today’s author feature, the lovely Vallean Jackson from Birmingham, AL. 

I am a children’s book and urban fiction Author. If I had to choose, I couldn’t. I am equally passionate about both genres. I also have a little romance and borderline education (my children’s workbook) under my belt. I am working on introducing other genres that I am more than excited about.

I would say that my biggest challenge to overcome as an Author was getting back into writing. For a minute, I gave up because of a past experience, but a great part of me just felt like something was missing. I had this build-up and stories continuously dancing in my head that, in a sense, frustrated me just as before when I first started. So once I started back writing, I got the relief I was looking for and have been back at it in every sense, and I couldn’t be more content.

My writing goal(s)…..are plenty, honestly. It’s almost like every day I add on something else. I literally have a folder on my phone entitled “book ideas” because something is always hitting me. I just wish sometimes I could write as fast as I thought of these stories. But on a more intentional level of goals, there’s me releasing another children’s book this year, releasing a new genre from me, and maybe some other projects I have in mind. To achieve these goals, the idea is to not give up. Be persistent! As well as keep in mind what I want to see come to fruition.

The best writing advice I’ve ever been given was to not give up honestly because I truly was a good writer and had so much to offer. I didn’t feel like that at the time and was just going to focus on journalism. But hearing those words came as a shock yet as a wake up call. That I was being hard on myself as well as letting a situation have control over my purpose, and that wasn’t right.

As for a book that I would like to focus on at the moment is my latest release Love On Thin Ice 3- Healing. It was released at the end of 2022 and is the last book of the “Love On Thin Ice” trilogy. The last book in the trilogy was bananas, if you ask me! The twist and turns that developed even shocked me. That might sound crazy, but for a minute, it took me a while to see what direction I really wanted to go. I was honestly struggling a bit, then one day it just hit me and everything started to unravel. It was like my characters took me over. I think the best part of the trilogy for me is how my characters each realized healing isn’t the same for everybody. It might carry one definition, but how it’s interpreted is to each’s own. 

Love On Thin Ice 3- Healing can be purchased on Amazon, Kindle, Google Books, and www.valleanj.com

They say that time heals all wounds, but for the dynamic couple Keiontay and Nova, the flames of the love between them have fanned out.

Nova’s battle of standing her ground has her embracing the role of a single mother while trying to heal from a failed relationship and conflicted with still believing that love for her is not dead.

With the feeling of rejection that cuts as deep as a sword, the question for Keiontay becomes if he can maneuver out of his own way to get back the love he holds dear.

But the wrath of rejection doesn’t stop there as Tarven thinks he finally has the woman he has always fought for, and Ginger refuses to let go of her heart’s desire. Her take no attitude in this trilogy reveals many anticipated consequences.

And Omar works through some childhood trauma that leads to experiencing the love that he has always craved.
In the fight for love, healing, and a healthy relationship…..who will finally get their happy ending?

The INFJ Writer: Cracking the Creative Genius of the World’s Rarest Type by Lauren Sapala

First, I need to preface that according to the Meyer-Briggs assessment, I’m an INFP-A so I’m not exactly the target audience this book was aiming at. However, it was a recommendation from the Introvert Writer Summit I enjoyed at the beginning of March and being introverted, I hoped that there would be something useful for me in it.

And there was! I felt validated as both an introvert and writer as I read it. Some of the weird stuff that I thought just made me nuts was addressed. For example, the children’s book series that I’m currently working on–well, the main character Lupita is a fully formed, slightly awkward, 5-year old clamoring in my head for me to tell her story. She just appeared to me one day and here we are, taking dictation for book 3. This phenomenon was addressed in Chapter 4, INFJ Psychic Ability and Character Development. Apparently, this happens to other writers too! WHOOP!

The book also talked about how introverts prefer to work intensely for large blocks of time, don’t like meetings, and lead interesting lives which will make fabulous memoirs. (So me!) In addition, there are discussions about what it means to be a Sensitive Intuitive writer and how hangups with financial success hold them back from making a killing with writing. (Certainly true!) And why INFJs, INFPs, and Sensitive Intuitives might not find it in their best interests to try and become a full-time writer. Fascinating stuff!

So I highly recommend The INFJ Writer: Cracking the Creative Genius of the World’s Rarest Type by Lauren Sapala if you are an INFJ writer. You’ll also find it helpful if you are an INFP or Sensitive Intuitive. After all, knowing ourselves is the first step in truthful writing. 

If you’d like to get an idea of what type of writer personality you have, here’s a link to a free online personality test.

Interview with the Author — ME

Well, who knew that having a pen name would make identification so difficult? This week Leigh Thelmadatter wrote about me for Mexico News Daily and I barely recognized myself even though there was a picture of ME in the article.

Anyway, if you’d like to read more about C.E. Flores AKA La Gringa de La Yacata AKA Camille Torok AKA Torok AKA La Maestra AKA Camille E. Torok de Flores AKA Millie Flores (author of soon to be released children’s books) then here’s the link to that article. Enjoy!

Author Interview with The Bangura Institute

Last week Roxana Bangura from The Bangura Institute features little ol’ me on her YouTube channel. What was intended to be a 30 minute chat lasted more than an hour! I shared some personal things that I hadn’t meant to, and talked about my books some, revealing the fact I’m working on a series for children that hopefully will be available in the near future. 

So if you’d like to watch the episode about yours truly, here it is!

My First Radio Interview

I did a short promotional piece for the Self-Publishing 101 webinar on the Canadian radio last week. It went well, I think. Feel free to listen and let me know what you think! You can find the link here.