Thursday, 29 January 2015

A review I am proud of!

My first book, "Panama? Why Panama?" has been reviewed by Premium US Reviews and the result follows:

Panama? Why Panama?
by Iris M. Todd-Lewis
Trafford Publishing

reviewed by John E. Roper

"I guess it's my Parisian French spoken with an English accent that confuses them? If one more set of eyes roll into someone's forehead I'll smack him or her!"

Life in exotic destinations intrigues us, and due to this an entire subgenre of true adventure books revolving around the building projects of individuals determined to carve out a new life for themselves in a foreign locale have emerged. Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence along with Frances Mayes' Under the Tuscan Sun: At Home in Italy may be the premier examples of writing in this field, but newcomer Todd-Lewis' book seeks to do them one better by recounting her and her husband's experiences a full two and a half years before they ever emigrate!

Based on her ongoing blog but expanded for this format, the author's book starts out with the couple's decision to move somewhere close enough to Canada for family visits yet far enough south to be better for Iris' arthritis. After some careful research Panama is selected, and thus begins the long and frequently frustrating odyssey of trying to build a house in another country while closing down life in your own. In a weekly series of posts Todd-Lewis takes her readers on a lively and often humorous trek through foreign red tape, banking delays, building issues, house renting (and selling) hurdles, and the ever-looming anxiety of trying to unload a business that no one either wants or seems able to buy.

Written with transparency and a personable manner, Todd-Lewis' narrative retains the newsy appeal of a blog but with the clear beginning, middle, and end that a book requires. As a postscript she even includes a critical analysis of some of the decisions she and her husband made along the way to help guide future emigrants in their own moves. Overall, the author has constructed an enjoyable and well written memoir that practically begs for a sequel.

RECOMMENDED by the USR                                        

©2015 All Rights Reserved • The US Review of Books

Needless to say, I am elighted and agree with every word!  The sequel has been written and is out there for sale as "Postcards from Panama", also available through Trafford.

Sunday, 18 January 2015


Slow going again.  I want to get to the editing stage, but there is still a way to go before I can start.

This past week, I discovered I had sold all four books I placed at a local B&B, so I will collect the money and have left some more books.  These were my first book "Panama? Why Panama?" and I have personly sold about a dozen.  The sales are low with such a niche market and my royalty checks are very small!

The cover of my second book "POSTCARDS from PANAMA"

Monday, 5 January 2015

2015 - Resolved to complete the latest effort

After more than two weeks hiatus, my mind is running at full tilt with ideas for the next several chapters.  The brief rest must have done me good. I feel ready to tackle the second half of this novel!

Writing is a marvellous outlet, but one must be prepared for the down moments when it all seems to be trite and not worthy of a read. The editing process is hardest, according to my experience so far, and until that first draft is down and ready for the process, it is mostly fun just madly writing and not worrying where you are going. I think I take a lot of sidebars, but that can be fixed, and right now my challenge is timing - when what happens, to whom, in what order. And does it dovetail with other events and persons in the tale?  That will be a huge challenge when I edit - especially if I haven't kept good enough notes.  My outline helps, and I even laid it out in years with events for each one. Hope that worked!

Back to the computer. I picked up a 32G drive for back-up while away. One never knows!