The Lady of the Lake is a Muse

Writers have probably been sharing company and debating ideas since Gutenberg invented moveable type, more recently in the salons and bookstores of 1920’s Paris, and post-WWII in the coffee houses of Greenwich Village and San Francisco’s North Beach.  These days, etailers like Amazon Books afford readers access to the work of authors so scattered around the globe that they’re unlikely ever to meet each other except online.

There remains, though, a community of writers who still embrace the value of  living and working among each other.  They’re to be found in a string of  villages along the shores of Mexico’s Lake Chapala, drawn by the same pull which has attracted English language writers and poets to the area for nearly a century.  The continuing stream of newly arriving writers leaves no doubt that its appeal is stronger now than ever before.

Book cover wallpaperToday, readers can choose from nearly 100 Amazon titles by more than 30 authors who have learned to their delight that the Riberas de Chapala – the shores of Lake Chapala  – can coax even the most reluctant muse into fruitful inspiration.

These book authors, though, are just the tip of the iceberg.  The work of scores more – including, poets, short storytellers, essayists, memoirists, and humorists – appear often in anthologies and in the area’s English language periodicals.  In fact, it’s hard to pass a day here without sighting one or more – writers going about their daily affairs on along cobblestone streets.

They work from homes scattered around a picturesque, mile-high lake nestled among the mountains of western Mexico.  The area boasts a unique micro-climate known for sun-bathed winters and a welcome absence of steamy, subtropical summers.

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Mexico’s Lake Chapala

And while the seclusion which many writers crave is not hard to come by, these wordsmiths frequently come together for readings, workshops, and the area’s annual writer’s conference.  Experienced writers often coach aspiring writers, and it’s not uncommon to see a budding author grow from apprentice to journeyman to maestro under the influence of expert coaching.

The world of publishing has been turned on its head in the past couple of decades, but it seems a fair bet that writers – regardless of changes imposed by technology – will continue congregating here over the next 100 years as they have in the first.

Read more about this area’s rich literary tradition on these related posts:

Writers’ Love Affair with Lake Chapala

D. H. Lawrence’s Chapala Legacy

Tennessee Williams’ Mexico Link

Browse local authors – and find links to their Amazon books and reviews – in our Authors Gallery.

 

 

 

Spotlight: Author Janice Kimball

Janice Kimball
Janice Kimball

Janice Kimball has lived at least three lives.  The first was as a mother and wife.  The second is as an award-winning artist and talented textiles designer.  And the third – which often vies with the second – is as a writer with a very distinctive voice.

Kimball’s book Three in a Cage is an uplifting story that tackles the real meaning of family, and – except for the “translated” musings of a talking parrot – is at its heart a true account set on the shores of Lake Chapala.   The author calls her style “creative non-fiction”.

Three In A Cage coverThe tale revolves around an eclectic trio of roomates. Jani is the owner of a Mexican art studio, where she lives with native weaver Francisco and a chatty parrot named Max Bird. The story soon unfolds to reveal that they came together through happenstance, and that all three had tragic pasts.

Jani was once a self-described stalker’s wife, a woman who constantly feared for the safety of her children at their father’s hands. Her nightmares condemned her to a lifetime of insomnia and branded her with what later came to be known as post-traumatic stress.

Francisco, smuggled across the border at age fourteen to seek wages sufficient to help support his twelve younger siblings and mother back in Mexico, fell into tragic circumstances which left him a wandering, virtual amnesiac for years.

Max, an unusually articulate and insightful parrot, was kidnapped as a fledgling by poachers to be sold illegally. He has a crippled foot and clipped wings.

Together, these three attempt to build a new shared life  on the ruins of their “ lost identities.” As they comfort each other and build a mutual trust, their wounds begin to heal and they become bound to each other as tightly as any family of shared blood.  The route to their new lives, however, is sometimes circuitous.

This is an allegorical tale about an escape from the confines of traditional thinking which enables this earthbound trio to “fly without wings.” It’s a book to which ‘children’ aged 8 to 80 can connect equally, and its lesson is one that benefits well from Kimball’s retelling.

Find Three In A Cage here on Amazon.

All Our Words Needed Saying


Janice has joined other women writers as a contributor to the anthology All Our Words Needed Saying (here on Amazon).

She is also the author of a 2014 limited edition book titled The Joy of Art, an illustrated guide to its creation, exhibition, and sale.

 


Max Bird makes a cameo appearance in the award-winning anthology Mexico: Sunlight & Shadows as in a piece by Janice titled The Golf Cart LadyFind it here on Amazon.

Mexico Sunlight & Shadows

 

Welcome poet Bill Frayer

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Bill Frayer

Bill Frayer’s work spreads itself across an expansive landscape of autobiographical and philosophical subjects, much of it inspired by his life as an expatriate living in central Mexico.

He weaves everyday feelings and thoughts into patterns which which transform the ordinary into visions of the extraordinary.

In addition to four volumes of his own poetry, his work os also be found between the covers of Romancing The Muse, collected works of the Not Yet Dead Poets Society.

Read more about Bill, and find links to his work and reviews on Amazon, here.

Welcome author Joyce Wycoff

Joyce Wycoff mug
Joyce Wycoff

The thread which connects the content of Joyce Wycoff’s seven Amazon titles is a desire to put into her readers’ hands a collection of information and techiniques focused on helping each one to “be a better self.”

These books take on tough problems such as how to avoid getting bogged down in conflicts or sidetracked by unexpected changes.

They offer advice and provide exercises designed to foster more creativity, improve problem solving skills, make clearer decisions, improve memory and concentration, and employ better organization skills.

And while Wycoff’s’s immediately desired outcome is greater personal productivity, her overarching goal is for her readers to have better relationships, to be happier, and to lead more fulfilling lives.

Read more about Joyce, and find links to her work and reviews on Amazon, here.

Moveable feasts

Collected short stories and poems offer readers a virtual buffet of writers and works, and  the five collections featured below serve up tasting menus of prose and poetry by 26 Riberas Authors.  A delightfully wide array of genres, subject matter, and styles will leave any reader hard-pressed not to find at least one new favorite among them.  And, the Riberas Authors catalogue of nearly 100 Amazon titles allows readers to go back for a full serving of their favorites.


Agave MariasAgave Marias

The women authors of this book describe themselves as “border crossers and boundary breakers” and “women who have lived their lives with a certain boldness”.  Their work says the same.

By Nina Discombe, Judy Dykstra-Brown, Harriet Hart, Teresa Kendrick, Gloria Marthai, Susan Q. Miller, Zofia Barisas, Dory Jones, Gloria Palazzo, Amelia Stevens.

Find it here on Amazon.

 

All Our Words Needed Saying


All Our Words Needed Saying

These 21 stories, each followed by a poem, address points of change in women’s lives; power, sensuality and the erotic; motherhood, childbirth and abortion; and grief and loss.

By Zofia Barisas, Carol D. Bradley, Ilsa Picazo, Patricia Hemingway, Janice Kimball, R. J. McMillen, Glenda Roman, Margaret Van Every.

Find it here on Amazon.

Embracing The Fog


Embracing the Fog.  Four writers explore the lives of characters at life’s crossroads in short stories set on four continents and spanning more than a century. The authors’ distinctive voices lend an engaging variety of perspectives to the crossroads theme.

By Robert Bruce Drynan, Mel Goldberg, Antonio Ramblés, James Tipton.

Find it here on Amazon.


Mexico Sunlight & ShadowsMexico Sunlight & Shadows.  A collection of 22 short stories and essays by all about life in Mexico.

Authors include Janice Kimball, Judy King, Antonio Ramblés, James Tipton

Find it here on Amazon.

 

 

Romancing the Muse


Romancing the Muse. 

By the Not Yet Dead Poets SocietyJudy Dykstra-Brown, Bill Frayer, Mel Goldberg, James Tipton, Margaret Van Every, Michael Warren, Kenneth Salzman

Find it here on Amazon.

Check out the complete listing of RiberasAuthors by genre here.

(Post by Antonio Ramblés.)

 

Welcome author Zofia Barisas

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Zofia Barisas

RiberasAuthors is proud to announce the addition of Zofia Barisas to its Authors Gallery.   If you’ve read any of her pieces in El Ojo del Lago, you’ll want to check out her other writing…

Read more about Zofia, and find links to her work and reviews on Amazon, here.

Welcome author Ilsa Picazo

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Ilsa Picazo

RiberasAuthors is proud to announce the addition of Ilsa Picazo to its Authors Gallery.  Ilsa is widely known in Mexico as a print and broadcast journalist, and her work has been published both in Spanish and in English.

Read more about Ilsa, and find links to her work and reviews on Amazon, here.