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YOUR TIME IS NOW: Your Life, Your Choice, You Have the Power; Today Is the Day ~Keith E. Smith

Monday, May 2nd, 2016

I so enjoy reading books about people’s success and the path they take to get to the next level. They always inspire me to renew my energy to change and keep my efforts fresh and well practiced. YOUR TIME IS NOW is just a marvelous example of that successful living model and a great permission to dream your dreams.

Smith tells his story of change emphasizing that it was not an instant kind of journey but rather it was a process, which included a feeling that he was not manifesting his true potential. He has an extensive bibliography of the study he undertook to figure out his passion and what action he was going to undertake to work towards and hone in on defining his brightest goals and aspirations. His stories illuminate his process, which is shared in a way that gives everyone the small steps necessary to work on their own goals and dreams.

I liked very much that Smith writes in his own words, uses quotes that he found personally helpful and which actually illuminate the steps in the process. There is a truth and relevance to the steps.

YOUR TIME IS NOW brought me into the present moment and allowed me to set down a worry or two; I had a big sigh and then listed some of the tough times I have weathered and survived. I opened up to a deeper appreciation for the experiences of my life and was so grateful for those opportunities. Yes, gratitude is a large key to the process of change and movement. In the authors own words,” This is actually a good thing because it helps us snap out of auto-pilot and awaken to more!” (Page106)

Synchronicity happened around this book, a friend on Facebook was thanked for gifting this book and I mentioned in the comments I would like to read and review Keith Smith’s book. Keith Smith sent me a copy of the book. Thank you!

I recently completed a review of a book about Alice James, sister of William and Henry James. Both books ALICE IN BED  and YOUR TIME IS NOW included this William James quote: “Believe that life is worth living and your belief will help create that fact.”

Thank you so much Keith E. Smith for sharing your terrific book with me and I hope my sharing will bring more readers to your work.

Congratulations on the release of your new Novel: BLACK CHAMBER: Paradise Lost

Keith E. Smith Blog: Straight Up Living

A Short Path to Change
The Pocket Guide to Manifesting
Trust What You Get

LA BELLE CRE’OLE: The Cuban Countess Who Captivated Havana, Madrid, and Paris ~Alina Garcia Lapuerta

Monday, November 10th, 2014

“The phrase ‘creole’ often puzzles the modern reader.  Many think that creole or criolla (in Spanish) means a person of mixed race from the former slave-owning states or the Caribbean.  However, the word merely indicates that someone was born in a colony, generally of European descent.” (From the author’s notes)

LA BELLE CREOLE is a biography about Maria de las Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo.   She is a heroine to the people of Cuba, who was raised by her material Great Grandmother on the family plantations  where she had free reign in her comings and goings until she was reconnected with her parents at age 9 with her Father and 13 with her mother.   Mercedes lived many years in Paris and Madrid before returning to Havana in the 1840s.  She was born February 6, 1789 in Havana, her parents left for Europe a few months later.

Her father thought a convent would be the best situation for Mercedes, but that was not to be with this society girl and her big ideas.

I read an advanced PDF copy of the book which did not include pictures or cover; I thought I should share Amazon’s Book Description here so we would both know the cover words:

The adventurous woman nicknamed La Belle Créole is brought to life in this book through the full use of her memoirs, contemporary accounts, and her intimate letters. The fascinating María de las Mercedes Santa Cruz y Montalvo, also known as Mercedes, and later the Comtesse Merlin, was a Cuban-born aristocrat who was years ahead of her time as a writer, a socialite, a salon host, and a participant in the Cuban slavery debate. Raised in Cuba and shipped off to live with her socialite mother in Spain at the age of 13, Mercedes triumphed over the political chaos that blanketed Europe in the Napoleonic days, by charming aristocrats from all sides with her exotic beauty and singing voice. She married General Merlin in Napoleon’s army and discussed painting with Francisco de Goya. In Paris she hosted the city’s premier musical salon where Liszt, Rossini, and great divas of the day performed for Rothschilds, Balzac, and royalty. Celebrated as one of the greatest amateur sopranos of her day, Mercedes also achieved fame as a writer. Her memoirs and travel writings introduced European audiences to 19th-century Cuban society and contributed to the debate over slavery. Mercedes has recently been rediscovered as Cuba’s earliest female author and one who deserves a place in the canon of Latin American literature.

The early reviewers on Amazon have all given it 5 stars and written very positive reviews.  For those readers who love a biography this book is a “treat” and it is very well written.   The author went to Georgetown University and now resides in England and is also Cuban heritage.  I was thinking as I worked my way through the book, how much my mother would have loved this story and enjoyed the extensive family history and the stunning descriptive paragraphs all gleaned from the author’s extensive research.

About the Author 
Alina Garcia Lapuerta Facebook

The copy of this book was sent to me by Chicago Review Press  for review and I appreciated the opportunity.

LA BELLE CREOLE was a good read.   I was saddened to learn that my copy did not include the family tree which was at the back of the book.  I grew a bit weary of the long narratives about the family at the beginning – the begats.  Family intermarriage was a security issue to keep the rich, rich and I get exhausted by the private club this creates in the world.

The Lost Tribe of Coney Island
Imaginary Life 
A Snug Life Somewhere 
The Paper Garden

On Reading a Memoir

Monday, March 25th, 2013

REVERE BEACH ELEGY: A memoir of Home and Beyond  By Roland Merullo was sent to me by publisher Peter at PFP Publishing/First AJAR Contemporaries because I saw that it was being offered up on Merullo’s newsletter for review by bloggers.   I made a request and within hours it was on my e-reader.  Thank you so much

This is an autobiography in 10 essays and is not a straight story line about birth to present; I really liked this view and the highlights of his life shared in this style and with this kind of choppy movement.  The Librarian/author Nancy Pearls  tells us on National Public Radio to read a memoir while keeping in mind that much of our living is boring – mundane routine and we need to remember that memoirs are at least 20% fiction to keep us interested and connected to the telling.

I also keep in mind that when it is an autobiographic writing, then the other members of a family or friends will have witnessed a different perspective of the events, story and ideas.  The author can choose to leave out details or arguments and has control over what is presented.  What I so enjoyed about this read was that Merullo had such fine analysis linked to his thoughts at the time of the event and to his hindsight acquired wisdom, so that, the context of the story was indicative of something shared in his novels and other writing, but also what he gleaned and how that provided creative vision to his creativity.

There is an unsurpassed element of kindness in this book.  The ability to share emotions and to use them is quite astute and surely should provide a model for how the rest of us might strive.  The emotions are not ignored rather they are played out with fine tuning so the reader can truly identify and try them on for practice and future reference.   One can witness how this tuning is played out in BREAKFAST WITH BUDDHA and LUNCH WITH BUDDHA where the feelings just seamlessly touch you – and one is left to say “YES” that is just how it feels to me.

Revere is the name of the city where Merullo lived and grew – The title was mistakenly read by me as a Dream or Thought process at first or even Paul Revere’s famous ride. I did not connect Beach to the name until I started reading and then I had to look it up on the map and laugh at myself for my mistake!  I so enjoyed all the closeness of family and the connections, especially since that was not part of my life.

I wondered again why so many Catholic kids grow up and embrace Buddhism?  Is it just because of all the Rock Stars who went to India or found a guru?  In this case, I think it is because it better represents the inner strength of the author and how he manifests his spirit; lots of Italian energy and food included in the present tense.

One of the essays is about how he, his wife, and infant daughter, just gathered up his mother and took her to Italy to live for a short period of time.  Not just a tourist visit, but a real move in and connect experience.  He knew how to achieve that from his work in Russia and his Peace Corp experiences.

I want to be more myself, my core self, when I read Merullo’s stories.  They inspire me not to imitate his experiences but to look to more meaningful experiences to undertake and enjoy.  All my analysis of living going on inside my head has a purpose and it is reassuring that my ability to integrate ideas and feelings is shared by someone else.  Roland Merullo has found a way to express them and let them fly free and not just ruminate within the psyche.

When I read a memoir, I work at being kind and non-judgmental.  I seek to find the positive and the opportunity which came from this telling.  This writer has shared the details and formed from this experience and now I can benefit from knowing and understanding. I do not need to try and repeat.  The pleasure is mine in the reading.

Have you ever thought of sharing a memoir of your life experiences?  Would you want to publish them? Would you stick with fiction?

I did receive a copy of this book from PFP Publishing/First AJAR Contemporaries.

If you purchase anything from AMAZON or POWELL’S  from this sight I will receive a few beans in my bucket.  Thank you.  Donations also welcome.

Related Reading:
Breakfast With Buddha
Lunch With Buddha
The Paper Garden