Category Archives: Inspirational Writers in Mexico

Inspiring Women Writers in Mexico–Kate Evans

Whether someone has changed because of moving to Mexico or whether the change occurs that inspires the move, there is no doubt that Mexico is pivotal in many women writers’ lives. Today I hope you enjoy a brief look into Kate Evans life and times.

I’m from California. I live a nomadic life, while spending several months a year at our house in Mexico. My husband Dave and I left jobs and home eight years ago to travel and live home-free. A year in, we bought the casita near Cerritos Beach in Baja California Sur…sight unseen. My sister lived next door and told us about the place being for sale. We intuited we’d love the area—and we were right.

Whenever we return to Baja and are driving down the bumpy dirt road to our place, a sense of peace sweeps over me. Mexico has taught me to relax with what the moment brings. I love Mexico’s rich culture, history, and beauty (both natural and human-made). We’ve driven up and down Baja several times, and I find the desert/sea combination unique and awe-inspiring. I’ve also very much enjoyed Oaxaca, Mexico City, and Tepoztlán. Mexico is a huge country that I want to explore more.

Two months into living nomadically, I had a seizure and discovered I had a brain tumor. As I write about in my memoir Call It Wonder: An Odyssey of Love, Sex, Spirit and Travel, this challenge set into motion a life transformation. It also reinforced how grateful I was to be living the life I love

I’ve faced other challenges, including another major surgery two years ago, falling in love with and marrying a woman midlife, then dealing with a brutal divorce after 15 years together, and losing my beloved parents to prolonged illnesses. These are not singular to me. We all face challenges, change, and loss. “Overcoming” means allowing life’s lessons to help my heart grow. And, truly, life is transformation.

The love and support of friends and family keeps me going. Also, reading has always helped me understand how others live this life, make it through tough times, and keep their creativity alive. I’m proud of how many lives I touched in all my years of teaching. I’m also proud that my memoir won the Bisexual Book Award. But honestly what I’m most proud of is that I’ve learned to make friends with myself.

We explore wherever we are. For instance, right now we’re spending six weeks on Kauai and have been snorkeling, hiking, biking, going to farmer’s markets, spending time with friends who are vacationing or live here—and tomorrow we’re taking a boat to the Na Pali coast. We also do the usual things, such as cook, clean, read (we’re book addicts), listen to music, do yoga, surf the internet, take walks, play cards and Yahtzee, zoom with or call friends. I play the ukulele, watch about an hour of YouTube videos in Spanish most every day, and listen to guided meditations. I also work as a writing coach and book editor, and of course I do my own writing.

Our discovery of housesitting has helped make our life slow travel possible because we live for free in wonderful places all over the world. I write about this on my blog here: Living the Journey: Housesitting All Over the World (beingandwriting.blogspot.com)

I retired early (at age 50) from teaching with a small pension but more importantly lifelong medical benefits. My husband is retired and draws social security. When we’re not at our casita, we rent it out. We keep our eyes open for opportunities. For instance, we lived in China for a year, where I taught at a university. I led a writing retreat in Thailand and have developed online creative writing courses. As a writing coach and book editor, I help people write their stories (www.kateevanswriter.com). I’ve also published a number of books (several are available on Audible as well), including:

  • For the May Queen, a coming-of age novel about a young woman going away to college
  • Complementary Colors, a novel about a straight woman who falls in love with another woman 
  • Call It Wonder, my aforementioned memoir
  • Two books of poems and a book about teaching
  • And most recently, I co-wrote with Mary Janelle Melvin Revolutionary Kiss, a historical romance that takes place during the French Revolution (under the pen name Mary-Kate Summers).
Audiobook
Audio book

I would consider a defining moment in my life when I read Harriet the Spy as a girl. That set into motion my desire to write, to travel, to be a strong girl, and to live unconventionally. I’m currently working on a book about our house sitting adventures. 

Also, after retiring from nursing, my mom became a writer. I remembered reading one of her books in manuscript form, a historical romance taking place during Gold Rush California. After she died of dementia, I figured it was lost. But last year my sister found it in a box! My mom hadn’t spoken the last year of her life, so it was quite moving to see her intelligence and humor come alive again on the page. The book has good bones but needs reworking, so I’m also working on that and will publish it under both of our names. 

I plan on meeting these goals by writing one word at a time.

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A few words from Erma Note and the Giveaway Winner Announcement

Last week I told you about the signed book giveaway of Travels with Grace through rafflecopter. The winner is Cassandra Darensbourg! Congratulations Cassandra! Please contact me to make arrangements for your book delivery. A big thank you goes out to everyone who participated as well!

Erma Note is the author of our giveaway prize, Travels with Grace. Here’s what she has to say about her life in Mexico.I’m Erma Note. I am originally from the suburbs of Chicago, but I have been living in Mexico since 2003. I currently reside in Mexico due to job relocation.

I originally came to Mexico for a year to volunteer with an orphanage in Morelos State, Mexico. I ended up staying, getting married, and having my children in Mexico. My 23-year-old self never foresaw spending more than a year in Mexico, and I am often homesick for my family and friends. But I see that there is a lot of good in raising my children in Mexico. I have also met such a diverse array of interesting people in my years here, and my many friends and acquaintances have subsequently led to a variety of interesting connections.

I realized the other day while listening to the podcast “Curious City” (from WBEZ) that I am inherently a Chicagoan. While listening to the episode “To Chicago, With Love: What Do Transplants Love about the City?” I realized that I truly miss the environment I grew up in. I am still that person. But I have grown and evolved. So I don’t think my belief system has changed. I totally own who I am, and my family and friends from home helped shape me. But I have become worldlier since leaving the safe confines of the North Shore. Is that for better or for worse? That is a hard thing to determine. I know I would have always wondered “what if” had I not taken a leap of faith. I try not to be a “what if” kind of person if I can help it.

I miss fireflies in the summer and the Fourth of July. I miss seeing tulips popping up sporadically in my yard during the first days of spring, our magnolia tree in the front yard, and the view of Lake Michigan. I miss being able to go to family and friend events such as baptisms, weddings, first communions, graduations, and funerals. I miss having grandparents, cousins, aunts, and uncles nearby to watch my children grow (as was my experience with my extended family).

I think I am warier. I am always alert. I never rest on my laurels. I am constantly reinventing myself because so many dear friends leave every year. I think I am pretty good at keeping in touch thanks to social media. I am constantly meeting new, awesome friends that I would never have bumped into by staying in one corner of the world my whole life. I do NOT consider myself “an expat.” But I do consider myself a foreigner. I am a foreigner raising third culture children in Mexico. It’s complicated. But I know I am not the only one, and there are so many people bumping around the earth, trying to fit in. That is one reason I admin the Facebook group Mexico City Moms. Our goal is to help other people with families in Mexico adjust to the culture clash that often accompanies moving to a foreign culture.

I do not find it important to be a people-pleaser. I am honest and loyal, and I expect honesty and loyalty. I no longer have the capacity to deal with superficial people. I would rather have five close friends than twenty fake acquaintances. Fortunately, I think I have a lot of great friends. I hope they also think I am a good friend.

Due to job changes, we have lived in five cities over the last sixteen years. Nine of those years were in Mexico City, where all of my children were born. I got comfortable. Then we got moved again. Starting again is never easy. But I have managed to make friends everywhere I go, and I strive to make sure that my family is happy and functioning despite the upheaval.

It is a matter of when, not if, we move again. I am not great with transition. I am not a light packer or a minimalist. I live with a smidgen of dread and anxiety every day as such. I continuously research real estate prices while I peruse my emails. I am always hoping that somehow, somewhere, my kids will have a chance to grow up in one place, ideally the Midwest of the U.S. and near extended family. It is hard to be happy where you are when you’re wondering when you won’t be there anymore while wishing you were at home, wherever THAT IS at this point, and while at the same time feeling at home where you are.

My kids make me never give up. My children are my proudest accomplishment. I am also very proud of publishing my book and getting my message out to the world.

Certainly one of the most defining moments of my life was when I chose to come to Mexico. I felt that if I didn’t say “yes” right then and there, I would always wonder “what if.”

If I have free time, I enjoy shopping for handicrafts and visiting cultural sites such as pyramids and museums.

While I am not the main breadwinner of the family, I am an editor and publishing consultant. I also do author events for my book “Travels with Grace.” I would like to publish a Spanish edition of “Travels with Grace” sometime soon.travels with grace

You can find Travels with Grace by Erma Note at Amazon and Barnes and Noble.

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Filed under Book Reviews, Guest Blogger Adventures, Inspirational Writers in Mexico

Small Business in Mexico–SMA Walking Tours by Joseph Toone

Today’s featured business is Joseph Toone Tours run by Joseph Toone, naturally.  Not only does he provide walking tours of San Miguel de Allende, but has done extensive research on customs of the area and compiled them into several books.  He’s definitely someone to look up your next trip to SMA.

Captura de pantalla (99)

How did you end up in Mexico?
Grace of God.  Came down ten years ago with 3 kids in HS, bought a house the first time here and moved here.  Best move ever!

Where do you live now?
San Miguel de Allende, Gto.

Have you experienced any defining moments since settling in Mexico?
Many and they all started with a grandmother in my volunteer English class asking me to be her danzon partner despite not speaking Spanish (then) or knowing how to dance. That led to my introduction to Mexican history and culture by performing at festivals. That led to writing articles which led to now being TripAdvisor’s number one private guide for my town and Amazon’s best selling author on Mexican History and Travel for a series of books called San Miguel de Allende’s Secrets.

Would you say that you changed?
Yes.  More patient and understanding of faith’s role on history and culture.  Less controlling and worried about the future.

When did you get started?
3 years ago

What prompted your business choice?
A need to express to foreigners Mexican history, faith and culture to better understand what is going on around them during their stay.

How do manage?
My kids are grown and gone so the business is just me.  Business is a bit grand of term. Tours supply the money to allow me to print books based on articles I’ve written for both local press and international publications.  I sold my high tech company providing the income for me to live off investments in Mexican companies.  I consider the tours and writing a time consuming and fun hobby explaining the indigenous and Spanish roots to modern traditions.

What do you offer?
Top rated tours and bestselling books on central Mexico.

Is your business local or are your products/services available online?
Books are for sale on Amazon but tours are local.

Books:

jthistory

San Miguel de Allende Secrets: History and Culture with Virgins, Barbies and Transgender Saints

jteaster

San Miguel de Allende Secrets: Easter with Plagues, Prison, Piñatas and Popsicles

jtdd

San Miguel de Allende Secrets: Day of the Dead with Skeletons, Witches and Spirit Dogs

jtxmas

San Miguel de Allende Secrets: Christmas with St. Nick’s Nudes, Devils and Jesus’ Doppelganger



How can you be reached?
Joseph Toone Tours

Joseph Toone

Catholic SMA

History and Culture Walking Tours

Facebook

Toone.Joseph@yahoo.com

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Filed under Inspirational Writers in Mexico, Small Business in Mexico, Uncategorized