July Releases

I haven’t been idle in recent weeks, despite my infrequent blog posting. I’ve completed a 3-book series designed to help aspiring authors format, upload, and market their books. Having gone through the self-publishing process 16 times now (you can see all my books here), I’ve nearly figured it out through the tedious process of trial and error. It’s no picnic, let me tell you!

Just like last month’s release, Book Weaving, these three books feature more of Claudia Guzes amazing cartoons. After all, “Laughter can relieve tension, soothe the pain of disappointment, and strengthen the spirit for the formidable tasks that always lie ahead.” –Dwight D. Eisenhower.

Since we’ve become unwitting experts in tension, disappointment, and formidable tasks, why not throw some laughter into the mix? At least that was my thought when I opted to include some cartoons!

Book Building: A Beginner’s Guide to Crafting Your Book can help you properly organize your manuscript. Book It: A Beginner’s Guide to Self-Publishing and Marking on Amazon will help you navigate the publishing process. Book Hawking: A Beginner’s Guide to Marketing Your Self-Published Book is full of additional ways you can get your book into the hands of readers whether you’ve self-published or gone the traditional publishing route.

If you click on the cover, you can see a preview of the book.

What better way to enjoy a summer quarantine than with a new book? Go ahead and pick these up for free over the next few days. In addition, you can get A Woman’s Survival Guide to Disasters in Rural Mexico for 99 cents. Happy reading!

Click on the cover for a preview.

Now what shall I work on this month? Topic suggestions?

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The New Normal

Last month we had quite a few shootings in town. I’m sure there were more, but these are the ones I know about.

A teenager sitting on the curb in front of his house was gunned down not a block from my sister-in-law’s tortilleria. The guy who sells raw chicken whose stand is next to the woman that we buy our raw chicken from was shot 22 times. The chicken lady and the fried fish lady who had stalls on either side packed up their wares that day and haven’t returned.

We had a coordinated attack straight from a bad action film in town a block from where we had gone to buy our vegetables. We missed the action by 15 minutes. A car was set fire near the glorieta (roundabout) on the edge of town. A string of fireworks was set off in the mercado (market). Someone shot the employee of the shoe store on the corner. At the same time, several masked marauders ransacked the jewelry store in front of the presidencia (town hall). The military hummveed into town about an hour later. I have no idea why. The perpetrators were long gone.

Tuesday, the guys that ran the “auto paint shop” were shot. We drive past there every day on the way to town. Then the person running the “auto lavado” (car wash) next to Soriana was shot on Thursday. Both were obviously front businesses. The other shootings were reportedly all drug-related as well. Does that reassure me any? Hell no!

Our area is still in the midst of a turf war that began a while back. Guanajuato, being a center state, is considered an easier passage north than the mountains of Michoacan, although Michoacan has its own issues. 

The Jalisco New Generation Cartel (CJNG), under the leadership of El Mencho, el rey de metanfetamina (meth king), wants clear passage through the state which is currently held by the Santa Rosa de Lima Cartel, headed by José Antonio “El Marro” Yépez, el rey de huachicol (fuel theft king)

Last week, El Marro’s mother and sister were arrested but released because of “insufficient evidence.” Retaliations for the arrests include a few bombed cars and a bomb attempt at a PEMEX facility. Police tried to rearrest dear old mom a few days later. Three of the four officers attempting the arrest were shot and killed. Odds are the authorities are working with El Mencho to clear the area for takeover. It’s not going to well so far.

It’s enough to stretch already taut nerves to the breaking point. The local police and government are silent about the shootings in town. Their broadcasts focus on wearing a mask in public and using an antibacterial gel. Businesses have been given the green light to open up with precautions. We mustn’t let the economy collapse now, right?

Our personal strategy is to go to town as little as possible. We try to go to the grocery, carniceria, and fruteria stores as soon as they open in the morning. In and out, then back home. The idea, at least in my mind, is any shootings will occur a little later in the day, once the thugs rolled out of bed. This is the new normal in our area where masks and bullet-proof vests are suggested daily wear. 

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Magical Critters in La Yacata

Fuzz receiving chin rubs.

Fuzz has been with us for about a month now. He’s gone from a small fluffy bit of fur into a much larger curious beast intent on practicing his pouncing skills every time one of us comes out of the bathroom. His larger size has increased his jump height as well, so nothing is out of reach anymore. We’ve tried babyproofing some areas, but who’d have thought the baby could get up on top of the piano at his size and age?

Fuzz has also been working on training us to meet his demands. He enjoys chin rubs and belly tickles at regular intervals. His food consumption has increased and his way of letting me know that he needs more sustenance is to bite my toes furiously. 

He’s been pretty good about using the bathroom outside in his litter box. For a while, he was using my back porch planters as a giant toilet, but I’ve replanted it with spikey plants and that seems to have taken care of that. 

He’s learned how to let himself in and out of the house should we be tardy about opening the door. When he wants to go out, he launches himself full force with a running start at it, as if he’s on platform 9 ¾ with a luggage trolley heading to Hogwart’s. He can open the door from the outside when he’s really determined as well. He shimmies his paw underneath and pulls. He doesn’t always get it open enough to dash through but the banging he makes is enough to wake me from even the deepest slumber and open the door for him.

This morning, we left Fuzz alone in the house for about 30 minutes. We came back to complete chaos. He had gotten into a bucket of car oil my husband left in the garage and tracked it throughout the house. This meant a whole-house double-time mopping session and a bath for Fuzz which he didn’t enjoy at all. Not all the stains came up and my daybed cover is ruined.

Fuzz after his bath.

Our other animals are practicing their magic tricks as well. Terry chewed through his third leash in a fit of jealousy while we were walking the Puppers. Fred and George have discovered that if they team up with Lady, between the three of them, they can remove the bars that keep Lady in her stall so she can mosey on out for a sweet nispero leaf snack. They were so proud of themselves that my son didn’t have the heart to scold them. You should have seen their beaming faces and wagging tails. 

Fred has adopted his own chicken pet. Perhaps it’s his familiar? The rooster had been pecking the living daylights out of one of our gringa chickens. She took refuge with Fred and George under the rain tarp one day. Fred wouldn’t allow the rooster to come in out of the rain. Since then, Ms. Gringa eats, sleeps, and cuddles up with Fred, her savior. 

Wonders never cease around here!

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