featuring guest authors; crafting tips and projects; recipes from food editor and sleuthing sidekick Cloris McWerther; and decorating, travel, fashion, health, beauty, and finance tips from the rest of the American Woman editors.

Note: This site uses Amazon affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Thursday, January 16, 2014


The author  on one of her solo trips
Travel editor Serena Brower is taking over Book Club Friday today to introduce you to a very adventuresome author. Erica Ridley learned to read when she was three, which was about the same time she decided to be a writer when she grew up. When not reading or writing romances, Erica can be found riding camels in Africa, zip-lining through rainforests in Costa Rica, or getting hopelessly lost in the middle of Budapest. Learn more about her and her books at her website. Today she’s here to tell us about her adventures in South America and traveling the world solo.

Bolivia: The new Paris?

Authors are often instructed to “write what you know”, but when you’re writing fantasy, that advice necessarily goes right out the window. . . Or does it?

Let’s see how well fact compares to fiction:

In Midwinter Magic, Jack goes solo to a third world country. This is a bad idea.

I’ve traveled solo to dozens of countries, and would highly recommend anyone with wanderlust to do the same. Traveling alone has allowed me to live life as an adventure, and to make amazing new friends on three different continents. In 2012, I sold my house and moved to Costa Rica “for a year” . . . and haven’t looked back. (Getting caught in Snowmageddon 2014 when I flew north for the holidays didn’t exactly make me regret that decision, lol.)

Latin Americans are friendly and welcoming, even to American gringos.

While I haven’t (yet) set foot in every country in Latin America, every place I have visited is home to some of the nicest people on earth . . . although they might take umbrage with the U.S.’s co-opt of the word “American.” Many countries around the world view the Americas as a single continent, and all of its inhabitants therefore American, be that North American, South American, Central American, etc. As with anywhere, there are better and worse places to traipse around on your owni.e. Disneyland vs Detroit (sorry, Detroit!)but it wouldn’t be at all unexpected for a total stranger to offer a ride, a meal, even a place to crash for the night to a traveler in need.

(For a real-life example, ask me about the time I inadvertently spent three days alone in Nicaragua with only $30 in my pocket . . .)

Jack is trying to right some wrongs. In real life, locals would reject interloper assistance, right?

Dunno about you, but I personally wouldn’t reject no-strings free money . . . or free toys for my kids, or free medicine for sick relatives, or free labor around the house. I think a lot depends on attitude and intent. In my experience, many rural Latin America communities have a strong sense of community. They may not have extra money, but as long as they’ve got time and two hands, they’re more than willing to help each other out at the drop of a hatand therefore wouldn’t take offense to someone else doing the same.

Sure, if some egocentric group comes along like, “This is how we do XYZ in our country. You must now convert your life and your culture to mirror ours.” Then, yeah, you should expect resistance. But if you’re helping someone else achieve the goals they want for themselves, you’ll likely be welcomed with open arms. If you have the means and/or the time, volunteeringwhether locally or abroadis a great way to pay it forward.

Life seems to move at a much slower pace in rural Latin America.

Top five causes of traffic jams within three miles of the macadamia farm where I live:
1. Cow crossing the road

2. Herd of cows crossing the road

3. Chickens crossing the road

4. Pizotes (coatimundi) crossing the road

5. Sloths crossing the road

Accidentally knocking over your guardian angel is the one weird trick to finding true love.

Most people manage to muddle along without clothes-lining their divine intervention, but Jack’s head appears to be a little harder than most . . .

Midwinter Magic
After an eye-opening congressional hearing, former corporate shark Jack Morgan redirects his ill-gotten gains toward charity work. However, his attempts to bring holiday cheer to a Bolivian village meet with one disaster after another: canceled flights, crumbling luggage, implacable customs officials. His plans disintegrate further when he runs into a sexy tourist with . . . wings?

As Jack's guardian angel, Sarah Phimm has her work cut out for her. When his latest volunteer mission risks his life, she's forced to reveal herself to him—but only in part. She can't risk him knowing the truth. He's everything her immortal heart desires, but can never have. She soon discovers that keeping him safe amidst death bridges and tumbling telephone poles is far easier than guarding her heart.



Erica Ridley said...

Thanks so much for having me here today! :-)

Deborah Schneider said...

I've visited Costa Rica four times and can't wait to get back. Always wonderful people, beautiful beaches and gorgeous weather. I wish I could live there!

Erica Ridley said...

I love it!! Plus it's my backup retirement plan if that whole "win the lottery" thing doesn't work out. ;-)