Imagine if you will, a prominent writer of his day, recovering from a ill-received work, newly minted father of 6, hounded by charities, publishers, and children dealing with the newfangled idea of a Christmas tree and the resurgence of carols at every corner. Being commissioned to write a Christmas story just weeks before the blessed day is the final straw. He bah humbugs himself back to his bachelor’s quarters, donns a disguise and fails miserably at evoking any sense of Christmas in the story he’s written.
Faithful readers, friends, a crew of ragamuffins headed by David Copperfield, and a mysterious theater seamstress in a purple cloak haunt his every step. Walk along with Mr. Dickens as he rediscovers the joys of Christmas and finally gets that blasted Christmas story written. A prickly writer with an eye for the ladies, laboriously described scenes and characters, and the interweaving of other works by Dickens make this a worthy read this holiday season. In fact, it’s so rich you may need to read it twice just to savor the decadent details.
And finally, I’m delighted to announce the publication of The Mexican Apothecary: Traditional Cold and Flu Herbal Remedies, now available on Amazon. In this beautifully illustrated book (with drawings by Claudia Guzes), you’ll discover information about more than 70 cold and flu remedies commonly used in Mexico including traditional treatments for:
Stuffy noses and congestion
Sore eyes and earaches
Nausea and diarrhea
Sore throat and cold sores
There are also 44 plant studies with well-researched scientific support for each herb’s specific use as traditional alternative medicine.
It’s the perfect gift to yourself for cold and flu season!
Melissa Storm’s Author Engine Quick Tips mini-bundle is FREE and a great resource for authors. There are tips on lead magnets, keywords, categories, Facebook ads, targeting international markets, and more!
How about some Zoom games to while away the time? I have THREE FREE for you in Spanish and English. My talented friend Claudia did the drawings for these fun and interactive games.
Who Was I? Women of the Old Testament Guessing Game
Who Was I? Women of the Old Testament Guessing Game for Zoom is a fun way to review your Bible studies. The scriptural notations allow you to look up more information about each woman if you are stumped. Available in English and Spanish.
Women of the Bible Bingo is a fun and educational aid to Sunday school lessons or homeschooling curriculum. This set includes three different bingo boards and calling cards. Available in English and Spanish.
Mexican herbalism has often been overlooked by North American herbalists because most remedies have not been written down. Furthermore, many native plants are misidentified even by botanists. This volume of Exploring Traditional Herbal Remedies in Mexico: Learning About Culture Through Plant Use looks at some commonly miscategorized native plants and their traditional uses.
In this book you’ll discover:
◆30 Mexican plants used in traditional remedies
◆Dozens of herbal treatments for common ailments
◆Accurate botanical identification of native Mexican plants
I found Civilianized: A Young Veteran’s Memoir by Michael Anthony to be a sad commentary on the reality that confronts returning vets in the United States. Without appropriate support systems, suffering from trauma, many discharged soldiers struggle to find meaning and purpose. Unfortunately, Michael’s story is far from unique.
This memoir chronicles Michael’s life from shortly after his return to “civilization” from an active war zone in Iraq until the point when he takes up the pen in the name of justice. His experiences are pretty standard, drugs, alcohol, thoughts of suicide, difficulty with interpersonal relationships, and aimlessness.
The writing is coherent with excellent attention to detail, although the subject at times, I’m sure was difficult for Michael to record. It’s not a feel-good book but rather grounded in a reality that shows what a disservice is done to veterans in their home country, no matter which war they were involved in.
The topic of a returning soldier’s life may be too tough for many readers. However, if your life has been touched by a vet, Michael Anthony’s memoir Civilianized will resonate with you.
If you are looking for an inspirational mid-life adventure, you can’t go wrong with Tales of a Female Nomad: Living at Large in the World by Rita Golden Gelman. She begins her narration with time she spent living alone in a Zapotec village in Mexico recently divorced and wondering what to do with the rest of her life. Then we travel with her to Nicaragua, Israel, the Galapagos Islands, Indonesia, Canada, New Zealand, and Thailand.
Her experiences in each location, and the life lessons she picked up along the way, are well-described. She had experiences most backpackers will only dream about, such as living with a prince’s family in Bali. Most of her travels were done with no more than a wing and a prayer planning, but seemed to work out in the end.
Although this book was published in 1999, the author did stop traveling. You can read more about her continued adventures on her blog. The last post was dated 2019 when Ms. Gelman was 83 years old, recently returned from Rwanda, and took a spill in her home resulting in a hospital stay. What an inspiration for all women to live life to its fullest as long as possible!
I will say that I felt like Ms. Gelman’s narrative only just scratched the surface of her actual experiences. I expect, though, had she gone into more details the book would have been thousands of pages long. So I made do with surface skimming and puddle jumping and enjoyed it just the same.
Powerful You! Little memoirs of inspirational women by Anna Burgess tells the abbreviated stories of five women and the author. It also includes a memorial to an elderly friend of the author, Raymond Farrell. Encouraging commentary is interspersed throughout the book, designed to inspire women confronting life’s obstacles.
It’s not a long or difficult read. The women’s stories are moving. These women overcame challenges that included homelessness, divorce, illness and death of a parent, thriving as a single mother, surviving cancer, and starting a nonprofit.
Although the author repeatedly reiterates that this book is for every woman, it seems as if the target audience was actually the author’s friends and family, rather than for public consumption. For this to be a coaching book, which I’m not convinced it was meant to be, questions after each story to help the reader reflect on her own life would have been good. As it was, the message was, “See these women! They overcame adversity, and so can you!” but without any clear direction on how someone could do that.
Several times, the author states that if just one woman is inspired, then her book will have been a success. I think she sells herself short. The book has the potential of helping thousands of women find direction, with a bit of work.
Each woman’s excerpt was interesting but no more than a few paragraphs except for the author. The author’s own story, while moving, needed some content editing. It seemed that she wrote in a stream of consciousness and then couldn’t bear to go back and edit out redundancies or irrelevant information. The final chapter dedicated to Raymond, the elderly gentleman, seemed out of place in this book geared toward women.
I noticed no grammar or spelling issues in the text, which made it a nice read. Anyone who enjoys reading about others’ life stories would enjoy this book. Those that are looking for help with their in-depth soul-searching processes will need to look elsewhere.
I received an ARC from Reedsy Discovery. You can find my review here.