Life is funny that way, don't you think? Sometimes it throws you lemons, but other times it gifts you miracles! I'm going for the miracles. You may have noticed I haven't posted in a while, well, that's because I've been busy. Busy falling in love with Mexico all over again...

It was NanoWriMo 2023, and I was madly cranking out the rough draft of my latest WIP (work in progress) to "win" the 50,000-words-in-November contest (I won). The book, Kickback, wasn't coming easily; I had a lot of research to do on Mexican politics, Mexico City, and Mexican culture on the cusp of COVID. I hadn't visited in years, and after publishing Saints and Skeletons in June, I'd started letting go of memories. The memoir had helped me forgive all the difficult events and relive the wonderful adventure; I'd let the skeletons out of my closet. But I'd come across a good story, and I needed to write it, even if I was forgetting the smell of the air, the taste of street tacos, or the love I'd held for this magical country in all its virtues and errors.

And that's when the miracle manifested. Mexico wasn't letting ME go! First, I received an email from my old boyfriend, Fernando (read all about him in Saints and Skeletons). Thirty years later! And he wanted to make amends for everything that happened. How often does that happen?

Fernando and me in California 6/1992

We started talking: hashing out the memories, the joy—and the pain—catching up on a lifetime. (Still all in Spanish—another miracle, I'm learning it.) He'd googled me, discovered Saints and Skeletons, and reached out because he has written a book and wants to write more—supenso, thrillers. But he isn't a novelist by his own admission. Three months later, we're working on outlines for three thrillers, with a new idea brewing. Over WhatsApp we talk and brainstorm—just what we did so well through all those hours of traveling the back roads of Mexico in the 90s. We'll outline together. He'll research; I'll write. Suddenly I'm re-emmersed in Mexico—and it feels like coming home.

We don't know exactly how this will turn out, but I'm excited to have a new writing partner. If you like Mexico and crime, look for the first book sometime next year. In the meantime, don't miss the latest JadeAnne Stone Mexico Adventure Book 5, Backlash Venom and Vengeance from 'Nam. It was short-listed for the Chanticleer CIBA 2023 Clue Award and won Gold Book from Literary Titan.

Your past will always find you. And it’s going to take everything you  love away. Including your life.

Jackman Quint spent years in prison for his crimes during his tour in Vietnam. He’s made a new life: reunited with his daughter JadeAnne, expanded his investigations, and dipped his toe into the dating pool. Life is going his way until Nader shows up in Mexico City. Now, when he has someone to lose, his past finds him. And Nader is out for blood.

You can learn more on March 9th. Join us at Barns and Noble, El Cerrito Plaza from 2:00-4:00. It'll be a crime if you miss it!

"Ana Manwaring does an outstanding job of crafting a story that both stands alone on its psychological and thriller components. Prior readers will appreciate the plot while newcomers won't need an introduction to past relationships to appreciate the characters and actions that represent international relationships and survival efforts.

The tension is nicely built, premises are logical and embedded into the story's action-packed scenarios, and readers receive a high-octane action work well steeped in Mexican affairs.

Libraries and readers seeking thrillers that center around attacks that challenge individual and national interests will find Backlash: Venom and Vengeance from 'Nam seamless in its action and characters and hard to put down." Diane Donovan, Editor, California Bookwatch; Donovan's Literary Recommended Reading

Don't miss Smashwords Read an eBook Week, March 3-9. All my books are Free!

And if you want to get started now the Kindle version of Book 1, Set Up, is currently on discount at Amazon.

The JadeAnne Stone Mexico Adventures Books 1-4

Here's a little something to sip while you catch up with JadeAnne and Pepper

XOCOLATL

INGREDIENTS: 1 SERVING

1 cup milk, soy milk, almond milk, or water                                                         

1 package/disc Taza Chocolate Discs (any flavor)

Salt to taste

TO PREPARE:

1. Roughly chop or grate one disc of any flavor  and set aside.

2. Heat one cup of milk or water in a small saucepan over medium heat to just below a simmer.

3. Remove the milk from heat and add a pinch of salt.

4. Slowly mix in the chocolate, stirring frequently until dissolved.

5. When the chocolate is dissolved, return the mixture to the stove and re-warm over low heat.

6. While the chocolate is warming, use a whisk or molinillo to froth the chocolate.

7. When the chocolate is hot and frothy, remove from heat and serve.

Thanks for reading! Find me and my books through https://linktr.ee/anamanwaring and my website, www.anamanwaring.com

Gaga's Persimmon Pudding

Ingredients

  • 1 c. persimmon pulp
  • ½ c. whole milk
  • 1 Tbl. melted butter
  • ½ tsp. vanilla
  • ¼ tsp. cinnamon
  • ½ c. chopped nuts (pecans go well with persimmon)
  • ½ c. raisins ( I prefer golden)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 c. all purpose flour
  • 1 c. sugar 

Preparation

  1. Preheat oven to 350
  2. Mix pulp, milk, butter, vanilla, cinnamon, nuts,  and raisins in a large bowl
  3. In a smaller bowl, stir baking soda into flour  and blend into persimmon mixture
  4. Stir in sugar
  5. Pour into a pudding (flan) mold or Bundt mold, or 2 qt stainless bowl
  6. Place mold into a pan filled 1/2 “  deep with water and place in oven
  7. Bake  1 hour 
  8. Decorate with holly. Flame at table
  9. Serve with hard sauce (Joy of Cooking) or Rum Butter and mounds of whipped cream

To flame: fill a small pitcher with brandy or rum , pour a good  amount over the pudding and into the. plate. Light a match and watch the blue flames! With a spoon, keep the flames going  by dipping alcohol from the  plate over the pudding. Don’t worry if the spoonfuls are flaming. It burns at a low temp and burns out fast, but while it lasts, it makes an impressive display. Be sure to dim the dining room lights and flame with fanfare!

Rum Butter

Cream together  ½ c. brown sugar, ½ stick butter, 1 tsp nutmeg.  Slowly add 2 Tbls. dark rum, 1 tsp cream sherry and whip until fluffy.

 

@anamanwaring

linktr.ee/anamanwaring

“I graduated from college in 1971 with degrees in engineering and computer science. I was young; I believed in my country. The government.” Jackman Quint grimaced. “I believed in democracy and freedom—that the government had the citizens’ backs. It was my duty to preserve these ideals. I joined the ROTC.  When I graduated I enlisted in the Army knowing I’d be deployed to Vietnam; I was going to be a hero.” 

But everything changed when NSA spook, Chuck Nader got hold of him.

“I did some shitty things during that war. The whole thing was a lie. Vietnam was hell. I let Nader blackmail me into drugs and moving Vietcong opium through his network to the States. Got caught. Did time. But there was more. Secrets. I can’t say how or what, but my gut is telling me they’re connected.”

Now, thirty-two years later, just as Quint has reunited with his daughter JadeAnne, lost to him in the evacuation of Saigon, and found a woman he can love, Chuck Nader has shown up in Mexico City, and he's out for blood.

Please leave a review wherever you buy the book. And reach out to me—I love to hear from readers!

To sign up for Writing on the Wall, a monthly newsletter of news, appearance dates, recipes and fun go to: www. anamanwaring.com

Follow me on social media: linktr.ee/anamanwaring

Early on the morning of September 16, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla summoned the largely Indian and mestizo congregation of his small Dolores parish church and urged them to take up arms and fight for Mexico’s independence from Spain. His El Grito de Dolores, or Cry of Dolores, which was spoken—not written—is commemorated on September 16 as Mexican Independence Day. Join JadeAnne Stone and Dylan Porras at Plaza Hidalgo in Coyoacán for El Grito.

image from KXAN Austin

A man in a grey suit stepped onto the stage. Fancy-looking men and women trailed him to the chairs set up behind the podium. One of them looked familiar, Mayor Fallas. A younger man in a white-collared shirt with sleeves rolled up joined the luminaries, shaking hands and greeting some of the women with air kisses. He bustled to the podium and stepped behind the lectern, tapping the mic to test it. Live. He looked out into the audience and grinned. “¡Buenos noches, Mexico!” The crowd roared. “I’m Alonso Maldonaldo Trejo, the head of our independence day committee here to welcome you to the fiesta!” The clapping sounded like thunder. Alonso patted his hands down until the audience quieted. “You all know why we’re here—to celebrate almost two hundred years of independence from the tyranny of the Spanish Crown.” 

More cheering, whistles, shouts of, “¡Viva!”

The crowd went wild as the church bells pealed in honor of the occasion. 

When the old bells stopped reverberating, Alonso continued, “Tonight to lead us in El Grito de Dolores, we have our distinguished Alcalde Fallas, mayor of the greatest city in our nation! Let’s give him a big hand,” he said and turned to lead the mayor and his wife up to the mic, clapping over his head and grinning like a fool before backing away and sitting down. I wondered who the rest of the delegation were.

Dylan whispered his interpretation of the speech in my ear, keeping me in stitches until the smarmy egoist and his wife encircled each other’s waists and waved to the crowd. It was the clichéd photo op every politician delivered. And it was 11:59. A projectile sailed across the heads of the audience and splatted onto the stage. Alonzo scuttled out and grabbed another mic. “Countdown time! Everybody. 12-11-10-...” We shouted with the emcee, “siete...seis...cinco...”

Fallas counted down on his fingers and we all shouted with him, “... dos... uno. Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico! Viva Mexico!” 

The plaza felt like it would lift off. Everywhere faces radiated joy and pride. The bells rang again, an allegro for fireworks blasting overhead and Mexico’s National anthem blasting out of the banks of speakers, “Mexicans at the cry of war, make ready the steel and the bridle...”

I apparently was the only person in the audience who didn’t know the words. Everybody sang. 

And the fiesta got under way.

The dignitaries left the stage as the band members slung guitar straps over their shoulders. The drummer tapped out a military drumroll and the lead strummed an electric chord. Firecrackers popped crazily, and where they went off the crowd parted. The plaza thinned out and again the faces of revelers shifted. The crowd looked younger. And pretty wasted. I smelled mota, pot, on the air.

The band kicked into their first song.

“Let’s dance,” he shouted back and handed me down.

“I’ll need another margarita to dance to this. Punk? Really Dyl?”

He laughed and towed me to the margarita line. I wished I had earplugs. I hadn’t appreciated punk rock when it was popular, except for the Cars and the Police, which might not technically be punk, but I didn’t really know. We hit the front of the line and got double shots again. I swilled mine and let the driving beat move my feet. The lyrics were in English. 

Dylan twirled me into the roistering mass gyrating to the driving beat. It was loud. The tenor of the evening shifted once again to something frenetic and sinister. Too many aggressive gang tats and tarted-up teens. I observed the people around me and began to feel like I’d fallen into a 21st century version of West Side Story. Call it South Side Story—and the relentless rhythm was firing up a rumble. I grabbed Dylan and jerked my head toward the pavement. Glass, broken booze bottles, trash being ground into paste under the people’s feet. We were in the middle of the mosh pit and the frenzy was a swarming hive of angry yellowjackets. I noticed the gang mudras, hand signals to friends, chin pointing, tensions rising. We had to leave, now. 

I pulled Dylan’s arm and he folded me into his chest and rocked me wildly to the beat. I squirmed away. He didn’t see the danger and grasped my hand, twirling me back in. From the corner of my eye I caught movement, not dancing. A pod of prison tats sharking through the crowd, pushing dancers out of their way, opening a path toward another school near the bandstand jigging, cheering, passing flasks and bottles between them and their girls. I caught sight of several Zs. Fear gripped me. 

I swung into Dylan and yelled, “Trouble ahead!”

He hooted and yelled, “You know it, baby!”

From Coyote~ Terror and Pursuit Across the Border, A JadeAnne Stone Mexico Adventure #4

Chiles en Nogada

serves 8

Recipe Ingredients for Stuffing

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup olive oil
6 cloves garlic, peeled, plus 10 cloves garlic minced
1 large white onions, grated
1/2 lb ground pork
1 lb ground veal
1/2 lb ground beef
1/2 lb ground ham
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1 1/4 cups prunes, pitted and finely chopped
3/4 cup candied citron, finely chopped
1/2 cup dried apricots, finely chopped
3 large pears, finely chopped
3 peaches, finely chopped
2 apples, finely chopped
1 cups pineapple, finely chopped
1/2 plantain, finely chopped
3 large tomatoes finely chopped
1/2 tbs ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
5 bay leaves
3 sprigs thyme
3 sprigs marjoram
3/4 tbs freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/2 cup dry white wine
Salt to taste

Recipe Ingredients for the Chiles

16 medium chiles poblanos (green fresh ancho peppers), roasted, seeded, deveined and soaked in salted water and vinegar for 6 hrs.
1 cup flour

Recipe Ingredients for the Batter

10 eggs, separated
1 tbs salt
3 tbs flour
2 quarts vegetable oil for deep frying

Recipe Ingredients for the Sauce

2 cups walnuts
3/4 cup skinned almonds
7 oz cream cheese
3.5 oz goat cheese
1.5 oz fresh cheese, such as feta
1/2 slice bread trimmed and soaked in milk
1 cups heavy cream or 1 cup heavy cream mixed with 1 cup half and half
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tbs grated white onion
1 tbs ground cinnamon
1/4 cup dry sherry
Salt to taste

Recipe Ingredients for the Garnish

Seeds from 3 pomegranates
1/2 bunch of parsley, chopped

Recipe Instructions

Prepare the stuffing: Heat butter and oil in a saucepan. Brown 12 garlic cloves and discard. Brown minced garlic with onion. Add ground meats and saute until no longer red. Stir in raisins, prunes, citron, apricots, pears, peaches, apples, pineapple, plantain and tomatoes. cook until mixture begins to thicken, about 30 minutes.

Add cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, bay leaves, thyme, marjoram, pepper, sherry and white wine. SALT to taste. Simmer, stirring constantly, until the mixture thickens, about 1 1/4 hours. Cool

Fill prepared chiles with cooled stuffing. Put flour on a piece of waxed paper. Roll chiles in flour and place on a tray. Cover and refrigerate.

Prepare the batter: Make batter in 3 batches, as needed or it will not remain fluffy. Beat 1/3 of egg whites with a little salt until stiff. Lightly beat 1/3 of egg yolks and 2 tbs flour to whites, folding in carefully.

Meanwhile, heat oil in a deep frying pan. Dip flour coated chiles in batter, one at a time and fry over medium heat. Do not crowed pan. Remove and drain on paper towels.

Prepare the sauce: boil walnuts in water to cover for 5 minutes. Remove from water. Peel skins. Boil almonds in water to cover for 25 minutes and soak in cold water. Peel skins. Grind walnuts and almonds in a blender or food processor, adding cream cheese, goat cheese, feta cheese, bread, cream, milk onion, sugar, cinnamon, sherry and salt. the mixture will be very thick. Refrigerate.

If you are using packaged nuts, wash walnuts and almonds and follow the procedure for fresh nuts.

To serve: Place cold fried chiles on a platter. Ladle walnut sauce on top. Sprinkle with pomegranate seeds and garnish with parsley. (Chiles Rellenos en Nogada)

Coyote fountain in Plaza Hidalgo, Coyoacán (Place of Coyotes in Nahuatl.) Photo Ana Manwaring

Blacklash Venom and Vendetta from 'Nam

Jackman Quint spent four years in prison paying his debt to society for his crimes. Now, when he has someone to lose, his past finds him.

And it’s out for blood.

A JadeAnne Stone Mexico Adventure #5—Quint's Story

Jackman Quint’s former CO, Chuck Nader, has a vendetta to settle. For Quint, the Vietnam war ended thirty-two years ago with a dishonorable discharge, a prison term, and his daughter JadeAnne lost to him. Shouldn’t Quint be the one with the grudge? He’s made a new life for himself, reunited with his daughter, expanded his investigations, and dipped his toe into the dating pool. Finally, life is going his way when Nader shows up in Mexico City on a top secret mission through the U.S. Embassy. Coincidence? But it’s soon clear, Nader is out for blood. And he won’t settle for killing Quint—he’s after everyone Quint loves. He’s already killed one of the team. If Quint can’t unravel why Nader is bent on his destruction, he’ll never be able to protect the team, his woman, or most importantly, JadeAnne. She flies home to Mexico City in less than a week. The days are counting down.

Backlash on sale November 15th. Watch for preorders and in-person appearances.

Join me at Sisters in Crime Norcal's Fall Showcase from 1-3 p.m. on Sunday, November 12 at Books Inc 317 Castro Street, Mountain View, CA. I'll be presenting along with ten of my SincNorCal siblings. It's free and FUN!

For more information and social connections: www.anamanwaring.com linktr.ee/anamanwaring

Bouchercon San Diego

Don’t miss: Strong Women in Peril, Saving Themselves at 3:35 p.m. on September 1st.No fairy tales here! I’m moderating Christina Hoag, Tori Eldridge, L.A. Chandlar, and Susan Roland in a lively discussion of why we don’t need knights in shining armor anymore! If you’re going to Bouchercon San Diego, please join us. Even you knights!

Don’t miss: Strong Women in Peril, Saving Themselves at 3:35 p.m. on September 1st.

No fairy tales here! I’m moderating Christina Hoag, Tori Eldridge, L.A. Chandlar, and Susan Roland in a lively discussion of why we don’t need knights in shining armor anymore! If you’re going to Bouchercon San Diego, please join us. Even you knights!

Morning Show Interview

I’m thrilled to have been interviewed by Marcia Macomber on Mondays on the Morning Show on KSVY—The Voice of Sonoma Valley. You can hear the ten minute interview HERE!

Stand Against Book Censorship!

Excerpt from the article, “The Extreme New Tactic in the Crusade to Ban Books” by Summer Lopez, PEN America Chief Program Officer, Free Expression published May 8, 2023 TIME/Ideas https://time.com/6277933/state-book-bans-publishers

“This is a dangerous escalation in the movement to censor public education. In a very short time, the censorship advocates have gone from trying to control what can be studied and read in schools to trying to control what private companies can publish.

Let’s be clear. These bills are not about protecting children. They are about using the power of the state to intimidate private companies and ban ideas and stories that some people find offensive or uncomfortable. By going after private publishing houses, these bills represent an appalling and undemocratic attempt at government overreach, and yet another escalation in the war against the freedom to read.”

Stand against book censorship!

Let Freedom Read!

CHICAGO – The American Library Association has announced the theme for Banned Books Week 2023: “Let Freedom Read!” Banned Books Week will take place October 1 – 7, 2023.

"As we’ve seen throughout National Library Week, as long as there are libraries, Americans’ right to read will not be overcome by censorship,” says Lessa Kanani’opua Pelayo-Lozada. “Our 2023 Banned Books Week theme – ‘Let Freedom Read’ – captures what’s at stake for our democracy: that the safety of our right to speak and think freely is directly in proportion to our right to read. ALA encourages libraries in every context to mark Banned Books Week by inviting other groups within their communities to celebrate and take action to protect our freedom to read all year long."

Launch of Saints and Skeletons

We had a great time at Vintage House in Sonoma at the launch of Saints and Skeletons! My co-presenter was Aletheia Morden whose book, The Last Indentured Servant A Hollywood Memoir, published in April.

It’s topping my list of favorite reads right now! Our host was Susan Savage who will be wowing reading audiences with her novel set in Wales in the near future. Many thanks to Katie DeJongh, VH’s program director, for a wonderful event. It even came with lunch! Put on your hat and pour a cool drink. These memoirs make great summer reading.

Saints and Skeletons: A perfect summer read!

Pages: 368 | ASIN: B0BJGZRTGP | Smashwords | Kobo

Part travel, part action-adventure, Saints and Skeletons is the memoir from which Manwaring’s award-winning JadeAnne Stone thriller series was born. Look for Saints and Skeletons at your favorite on-line bookstores.

Author Links: Website | GoodReads | Facebook | Twitter

Reviews:
“Saints and Skeletons is a captivating and introspective work that encourages readers to embrace life’s complexities. Ana Manwaring’s unflinching honesty and willingness to bare her soul are both brave and inspiring. This memoir stands as a testament to the transformative power of storytelling and the remarkable human capacity for growth and resilience.” ~ Pricilla Evans, Managing Editor Literary Titan

“In Manwaring’s immersive memoir, Saints and Skeletons, she deftly takes her reader on a pilgrimage to Mexico. Rendered with heart and vulnerability, we observe her inner life through the risky choices she regrets, the love she desires, the sublime beauty she discovers. Don’t miss this multisensory adventure of a lifetime.” ~ JC Miller, Amazon bestselling author of Vacation, Heliotrope and Larkspur

“A true original, Ana Manwaring combines an uncanny eye for detail with unflinching honesty to create within her memoir internal and external landscapes that are arresting, unsettling and gorgeous.” ~ Laura McHale Holland, award-winning author of memoirs Reversible Skirt and Resilient Run

“What could be more delicious than a foodie road trip through Mexico and beyond with a Latin lover and beloved dog? Add a few thieves, sprinkle with corrupt officials, then mix in some fun-loving hippies for Ana Manwaring’s mid-life adventure with a bit of Spanish thrown in along the way.” ~ Aletheia Morden, author of The Last Indentured Servant A Hollywood Memoir

S&S 5 star review ~ Literary Titan
Some events in the book were chillingly similar to real-life events. Did you take any inspiration from real life when developing this book?

Yes! The opening of Set Up is a try story of what happened to me, although I was not kidnapped. From there I began to read everything I could on the burgeoning problem of organized crime in Mexico. I even went back to my local community college and studied Spanish to read Spanish-language news and commentary. The story is fiction, but rooted in reported facts...continue reading: https://literarytitan.com/?s=Ana+Manwaring

Sneak Preview!

Backlash | A JadeAnne Stone Mexico Adventure | Book Five | Thriller | Suspense

Jackman Quint spent four years in prison paying his debt to society for his crimes. Now, when he has someone to lose, his past finds him. And it’s out for blood. If Quint can’t unravel why Nader is bent on his destruction, he’ll never be able to protect the team, his woman, or most importantly, JadeAnne.

Book #5 of the JadeAnne Stone Mexico Adventures is with the publisher! It will be available in October for pre-order and comes out November 15th.

“Your past will always find you. And it’s going to take everything you love. Including your life.”

Jackman Quint’s former CO, Chuck Nader, has a vendetta to settle. For Quint, the Vietnam war ended thirty-two years ago with a dishonorable discharge, a prison term, and his daughter JadeAnne, lost to him. Shouldn’t Quint be the one with the grudge?

He’s made a new life for himself, reunited with his daughter, expanded his investigations, and dipped his toe into the dating pool.

Finally, life is going his way when Nader shows up in Mexico City on a top secret mission through the U.S. Embassy. Coincidence? But it’s soon clear, Nader is out for blood. And he won’t settle for killing Quint—he’s after everyone Quint loves. He’s already killed one of the team. If Quint can’t unravel why Nader is bent on his destruction, he’ll never be able to protect the team, his woman, or most importantly, JadeAnne. She flies home in less than a week. The days are counting down.

Chicken-Mushroom Quesadillas

A quick and easy weeknight meal

I didn’t learn this recipe in Mexico, but it’s a delicious take on quesadillas and worth trying. I’ve adapted it from Linda Gassenheimer/Tribune News Service.

Chicken-Mushroom Quesadillas
Makes two generous servings

Ingredients:

½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken cutlets (½ “ thick) or a large whole breast to cut yourself
½ tsp. Ground cumin or more per your taste
Good quality olive oil or olive oil spray
¼ lb. baby bella mushrooms or your choice chopped to about 1 ⅓ cup
1-2 cups washed spinach
Salt and pepper
2 8” flour tortillas
¼ c. shredded melting cheese of your choice.

Procedure:

Sprinkle the chicken cutlets top and bottom with cumin. Heat a skillet to medium-high and add olive oil to coat.

Add the chicken cutlets and mushrooms and saute for 3-4 minutes or until the mushrooms are soft and the chicken is cooked.

Stir in the spinach and cook until it wilts. Add salt and pepper to taste. Remove filling to a bowl.

Heat a dry comal or a large, dry frying pan and place two tortillas in a stack in the pan. Cook until the bottom tortilla begins to brown. Flip the stack and repeat. Open the stack and place one uncooked side down and cook to lightly browned.

Set aside the top tortilla and spread one half of the filling over ½ of the cooking tortilla. Sprinkle half of the cheese over the top. Gently fold the tortilla in half and cover with a lid and cook about a minute. Remove the quesadilla to a plate and repeat with the second tortilla.

Serve with salsa of your choice. JadeAnne prefers a creamy tomatillo and avocado salsa or pico de gallo. Any cooked salsa can be turned creamy by the addition of some Mexican crema or creme fraiche.

This dish goes well with a corn and black bean salad or a slaw with chipotle-ranch dressing and a frosty Victoria cerveza.

¡Buen Provecho!

"I hate it that Americans are taught to fear some books and some ideas as though they were diseases..." ― Kurt Vonnegut

Okay, I don't usually toot my own horn, but I'm thrilled to share my

for Saints and Skeletons A Memoir of Living in Mexico.

Not convinced? Read the review! Five stars from Literary Titan

"Saints and Skeletons by Ann Manwaring offers a poignant and introspective narrative that delves into a life shaped by personal triumphs, struggles, and the unwavering quest for self-discovery. With eloquent prose and candid storytelling, Manwaring invites readers to immerse themselves in the depths of her experiences, bearing witness to the transformative power of vulnerability and resilience. "

Pages: 298 | ASIN: B0C4QLYLC8 Available on Amazon, B&N, Smashwords

Please join me and memoirist, Aletheia Morden, author of The Last Indentured Servant A Hollywood Memoir at Sonoma's Vintage House on Friday, July 21st at one o'clock for a reading from our recent books and discuss the lure of  travel, relocation and the personal growth that accompanies living abroad. Moderated by Susan Savage.

HALF PRICE!

The JadeAnne Stone Mexico Adventures

Monday, July 24th at 9:40 a.m. Marcia Macomber will interview me for her program, Mondays on the Morning Show at KSVY 91.3 FM and streaming at www.KSVY.org.

I Look forward to seeing you!

Find me at: www.anamanwaring.com and https://linktr.ee/anamanwaring

This was and excellent read!

Salt Island

Fantasy Island in time for summer! Or is it? From the first paragraph through the relentless twists and turns to the last—I couldn't put Salt Island down.

"Imagine hearing nothing but seagulls and rolling surf for hours at a time. No talking, dogs barking, TVs, cars,empty enough to hold a thought in your head, idle enough to inspire daydreams. And when the shudder of fear shakes you back to earth, you’re still in your proverbial hammock, drinking in the countenance of paradise with the same hungry, cynical eyes. Could it be real, this place? Was it actually as safe as it seemed? Yes but for the ephemeral shadow in my heart, warning me that nothing was as it seemed, asking what the hell I was doing here."  

I was lucky enough to attend Lisa Towles's book launch at a local B & N recently and hear her talk about writing the E & A Investigations series. Previously Towles wrote standalone thrillers, but these characters, Mari Ellwyn and Derek Abernathy had more to investigate. Mari is a fine arts gallery owner and moonlights as an investigator. Derek is a former investigator and police detective who she asks for help in book 1. It's not perfect to start, but the characters develop pitch perfect chemistry, "I liked the feel of his weight nudging the right side of my body right now, as some kind of tacit assurance that the strands of my life, one of them anyway, was still at least partially intact", as they come to trust and rely on each other to get the job done. “We share a deep love of the same two things. Puzzles and justice.”

They are close, but not every secret is revealed. Mari, especially, carries a dark secret, something she's compelled to uncover. Their investigation into corporate espionage and eco terrorism twists seamlessly through Mari's personal investigation into her past. And throughout both, the surprises and suspense will keep you reading into the wee hours—or a sunburn at the beach! Wear your dark glasses and use plenty of SPF 50+—you're in for a hot, exhilarating ride.


Author Lisa Towles at B & N

Book Synopsis:

Having established their new official partnership, the private investigation team of Mari Ellwyn and Derek Abernathy are tested to the extreme with two new cases involving high-stakes corporate espionage and eco-terrorism. Someone is trying to sabotage billionaire CEO Jack Darcy’s IPO deal and reputation, and now his glamorous wife – media darling and entrepreneur, has gone missing. Thryve, Darcy’s high-profile environmental startup, is lauded by investors as one of the best innovators of the decade. But a journalist has learned Darcy’s dirty little secret and is hell-bent on exposing it to investors and the world at large.

Pulled from their Southern California headquarters, Derek heads to the Central Valley to investigate two suspicious deaths from an explosion on a local farm. The deeper he digs, the more questions emerge about what the murdered farm workers may have witnessed – toxic chemical dumping linked to an oil and gas company. A shadow witness is gathering evidence but disappears before Derek can get to her. As Mari considers her next move in a much broader conspiracy of corporate corruption and environmental abuse, her partner’s gone undercover to find the missing witness, and now he’s off-grid.

Mari must reckon with powerful ghosts from her past – her missing father and the truth about his double identity and secret agenda. She embarks on her own investigation to the British Virgin Islands, one of her father’s secret haunts during his time as an active CIA operative, and uncovers details too painful to bear – about her father, herself, and her future.

Secrets can’t say buried forever, but now Mari is alone, exposed, and time is running out.  

The follow up to Towles’s Hot House is already receiving a plethora of accolades. Check out what the reviewers are saying:

The Reviews Are In!

“Towles is a master when it comes to parallel story lines. Readers will love the quick pace and snappy dialogue of this thriller, and Mari is a character who jumps off the page and into your heart.”Literary Titan

“Likeable, interesting characters and a confident narrative keep the pages turning of this crime thriller, in a series that harkens Evanovich, Grafton, and Millhone.”RECOMMENDED, The US Review of Books

If you haven't read any of Lisa Towles's thrillers before, try one! I've read them all. Read my review of Hot House and an interview with author Lisa Towles here.

Meet the author:

No spoiler, but keep on the lookout for Towles' November standalone release—Terror Bay. It's going to be another hit!

On Pre-order now!

This action-packed memoir/travelogue formed the real-life backdrop to what later became the successful JadeAnne Stone thriller series. Starting in the summer of 1991, Saints and Skeletons takes you through the back roads of Mexico, Belize, and the Peten region of northern Guatemala, where author, teacher and former journalist Manwaring camped out in ruins, sampled exotic foods, smoked loco weed  atop pyramids, drank mescal out of the still, skinny dipped in Zipolite, found lost cities, and learned to make a killer margarita. In the process, she also experienced love, betrayal and loneliness. As doors opened and walls crumbled in her heart, skeletons tumbled out and, occasionally, saints appeared just when Manwaring needed them most.

Part travel, part action-adventure, Saints and Skeletons is the memoir from which my award-winning JadeAnne Stone thriller series was born. 

This action-packed memoir/travelogue formed the real-life backdrop to what later became the successful JadeAnne Stone thriller series. Starting in the summer of 1991, Saints and Skeletons takes you through the back roads of Mexico, Belize, and the Peten region of northern Guatemala, where I camped out in ruins, sampled exotic foods, smoked loco weed atop pyramids, drank mescal out of the still, skinny dipped in the Pacific at Zipolite, found lost cities, and learned to make a killer margarita. In the process, I also experienced love, betrayal and loneliness. As doors opened and walls crumbled in my heart, skeletons tumbled out and, occasionally, saints appeared just when I needed them most.

How did a forty-year-old bookkeeper come to leave her houseboat and business to spend a year running rogue in Mexico?

"In Manwaring’s immersive memoir, Saints and Skeletons, she deftly takes her reader on a pilgrimage to Mexico. Rendered with heart and vulnerability, we observe her inner life through the risky choices she regrets, the love she desires, the sublime beauty she discovers. Don’t miss this multi-sensory adventure of a lifetime." JC Miller, Amazon #1 author of Vacation, Believing in Bigfoot, Heliotrope and Larkspur (2023)

Preorder your digital format now and pick up your paperback on June 21st. Available from most digital retailers.

I review Laura's poetry book, Egg Shaped Ball. Now learn about her YA series.