Welcome to



4—6 PM at the Hotel Colonial, Alamos, Sonora, Mexico

Thank you all for coming today!

JANET AND KELLEY, of the , Hosts for Alamos Book Fair 2013.

PATRICIA HAMILTON, emcee today, and of “Our Stories of Alamos, a Pueblo Magíco.”


The Making of

“Our Stories of Alamos, a Pueblo Magíco”


In Appreciation for an Alamos Woman with a dream that grew into a book!


Joan Winderman had a dream to make known the stories of the fascinating women of Alamos – which led to the publication of “Our Stories of Alamos, a Pueblo Magico.” With pleasure we also acknowledge her dogged dedication to collecting these stories. I’m sure many of you can recall your own story of that! We know you love and collect books, Joan, so please accept this 500 Peso Gift Certificate to Kathy’s Korner Book Salon as a token of our appreciation.

I also acknowledge the contributions of Donna Love – who got the book rolling with a writing class for 25 local women and interfaced with other writers throughout — and Bernadette McAllister for photographs, and for the support of Betsy Maier.

LORNA ACOSTA, Los Amigos de Educación and Kathy’s Korner Book Salon.

Lorna Acosta created Kathy’s Korner Book Salon to honor her sister’s memory, and it has become a repository of an amazing number of books—donated and for sale—with the ambiance of the independent bookstore which has all but disappeared in America. It is also the headquarters for Los Amigos de Educación, which provides scholarships for further education to Alamos youth. With pleasure we acknowledge Lorna’s contribution to literacy and education, and gift her the net proceeds of $500 U.S., from the sale of the first printing of “Our Stories of Alamos.” PLUS Los Amigos’ ownership of all native book files for future printings and updates and the proceeds thereof.

LINDA ADAMS, Los Amigos de Educación and Kathy’s Korner Book Salon.

Linda Adams has been a tremendous help to Lorna and Kathy’s Korner and is available next door with name tags for the women writers so we can further identify each other and have our books autographed by everyone present. I’m looking forward to meeting the women writers and thanking them in person for their contribution—and have them autograph my book! There is also a sign-up sheet for any woman who may want to contribute her story for a possible second edition. Joan Winderman will also be helping with the autograph party next door. Thanks also to Louise McPherson, another Los Amigos board member, and her partner, Rob, for balloons and set-up.

43 Alamenses attended the 2013 Alamos Book Fair at the Hotel Colonial. Chairs provided by .

Los Amigos de Educación board members, LORNA ACOSTA and MICHELEE CABOT sat at the front of the Hotel Colonial courtyard.

HAL AND MICHELEE CABOT volunteer to serve refreshments, which were provided by Devorah, Donna, Cherisse, Joan, and .

A view from the back of the room.

We’ll take a short break. Please help yourself to the food and enjoy some water or wine. Next, I’ll describe the self-publishing sequence of “Our Stories” by way of illustrating to you the steps required should you be interested in self-publishing a book through and CreateSpace print-on-demand or e-book services. The CreateSpace services are free! Following, I will introduce today’s authors who will speak about the writing experience. Books for sale benefit Los Amigos de Educación.



There are only two main questions an author must answer to produce a successful book:

Who is your audience? How will you reach them?

With this book we identified the audience as the people of Alamos and we would reach them by mouth and through Alamos Notes. And if it got wider distribution, so much the better. We would not be investing a large amount of money, and believed we could recoup our investment. Now, of course, we would like to sell as many books as possible to benefit Los Amigos de Educación.


IDEA: Author – Joan Winderman: An idea whose time had come: lunch at Teresita’s March 30, 2011 Joan mentioned her idea of making known how special the women of Alamos are, and the other four of us—Donna, myself, Bernadette and Betsy—thought it was a great idea too. We invested our time and money to make it happen today.

TEXT: Writers – the women of Alamos wrote their stories (the most amazing feat of all, I think) Editors – our content editor and interface with the writers was Donna Love; a professional editor was hired for the final line edit.

GRAHICS: Photographers: myself, Joan, and Bernadette submitted a variety of photos of Alamos.

As stories and photos came in, I put up this blog to show our progress and keep us inspired.


This is my main work–making text and graphics look good and make sense; i.e., form and function.

I examined the stories, their length, etc. and decided the best format would be to put them in alphabetical order by first name and use a maximum of two pages per story.

If each story did not fill two pages and there was a big white space left, I combed the photos to find one appropriate to illustrate their story, with the goal to ultimately provide a variety of photos that would showcase the essence of Alamos, its people, plants, animals, architecture, ambiance, festivals, etc.

Sample pages and covers were prepared for the committee, reviewed, and refined to create the book you see today.

I assigned an International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and purchased a barcode for the back cover.


PDF files were prepared to spec and uploaded in November to my account on, the print-on-demand arm of, and were immediately for sale worldwide.

We ordered 225 books printed and sent to Joan in Tucson, to be delivered by Joan, Lorna, and Louise McPherson to Alamos in time for Christmas—to give a free book to each of the women writers, and for sale to others. We were able to completely recover our initial investment of $1700 by January 15.


We planned to have a book launch back at Teresita’s on Februrary 16, 2012, to honor the women and sell books. That became Christmas 2012 book sales, expanded to include my talk about self-publishing, plus book sales and talks by local authors (Donna’s ideas)—and thus grew into the celebration today, which I named “Alamos Book Fair 2013,” at Kathy’s Korner and Hotel Colonial venues.

Donna, an entertaining writer, and one of the authors who will speak today and has books for sale, is also a good book publicist. Jim Swickard of gave Donna contact information for national tourist related associations. Those letters and requests will go out soon. If you have any influence or suggestions who Lorna might contact for bulk sales (the ideal way to sell a book, along with having a niche market), please let her know.



Please welcome five of our local authors:

Robin Ellis, will speak about writing her book while pregnant and with breast cancer, “She’s Alright.”


Emily Preece, author of personal Alamos stories, “Over These Cobblestones.”


Donna Love, who brings four books to the table: “Tell Me a Story,” “To Make the House Complete,” “Walking for Our Lives,” and “Driving for Walking for Our Lives.”


Robert Cabot, author of several books, one of which is nominated for a Pulitzer Prize.


Leila Gillette, who wrote and illustrated “Stately Homes of Alamos.”


These local authors will be available afterwards for your questions and to sell books. A portion of today’s sales goes to Los Amigos de Educación, so I urge you to purchase at least one book from each author if you can! They will be happy to autograph books for you. Books are also available for purchase at Kathy’s Korner Book Salon – proceeds to Los Amigos de Educación.

Books are passed around during each author’s talk. Here, STEVEN FOSTER examines “Walking for Our Lives.”

Eat! Drink! Be Merry! Buy Books and Support the Youth of Alamos!

We published this book and created this event around it, to bring the people of Alamos together in community and with an appreciation of our strengths in diversity. I say, “Well done, Alamos!” Today’s event raised money for two scholarships for the youth of Alamos!

After the party’s over … Welcome to .

Photographs by Joan Gould Winderman and Patricia Hamilton.


You’re Invited!


4–6 PM, Wednesday, February 20


4:00 PM  , publisher of “Our Stories of Alamos, A Pueblo Magíco,” will speak at Hotel Colonial about self-publishing and the process to produce this celebrated book of women’s stories. A check for proceeds to date from the sales of this book will be presented to Lorna Acosta, President of Los Amigos de Educación, along with all files for reprinting. The book is currently for sale at Kathy’s Korner and on-line at

4 Alamos Authors: , Emily Preece, , and Leila Gillette, will each speak about their book. Their books will be for sale during this event, with a portion of the proceeds going to Los Amigos de Educación Scholarship Fund.

Women Contributors to “Our Stories of Alamos, A ” will autograph books at Kathy’s Korner. There will also be a sign-up sheet for other women who may want to contribute their story for a possible second edition.

Presidente Benjamin Anaya has been invited and we hope he will be able to attend.

Linda Adams will give tours of Kathy’s Korner and assist with the autograph party.

Tasty snacks from Devorah, Cherisse, and others will be served. 
Wine and waters will be available for sale.


The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for our blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

600 people reached the top of Mt. Everest in 2012. This blog got about 12,000 views in 2012. If every person who reached the top of Mt. Everest viewed this blog, it would have taken 20 years to get that many views.


FRONT COVER: “Our Stories of Alamos, A Pueblo Magico!”

BACK COVER: “Our Stories of Alamos, A Pueblo Magico!”

We did it! 81 women in Alamos, Sonora, Mexico—some locals, more extranjeros—each sent in a photo and short story of their lives in Alamos. See their photos on the cover, listed alphabetically with book page numbers.

These colorful books are on their way to Alamos, expected to arrive before December 7, and available for purchase at Teresita’s Café. They make a great gift for the holidays. 164 pages, 7×10, softcover. ISBN 978-1935530-69-5, $15 / 200 pesos

It is also now available for order from and

All proceeds to benefit Los Amigos de Educación

A Book Launch/Autograph Party will be at Teresita’s Café, February 13, 2013 at 4 p.m. and we hope to see you all there. If you purchase a book before the party, bring it to be autographed by the authors who attend.


Jennifer MacKay. Photo by Margo Howells.

It was a desire to do something different for a while that first brought us to Alamos. My husband, David, and our two daughters, Salina and Elly, were happily living in the Bay Area, and we were working for Backroads (an active travel company), along with several other side jobs. We lived at the base of beautiful Mt. Tamalpais, where we could step out our door to hike and mountain bike. We had great roommates and life was good. We had it in the back of our minds that, once our girls were big enough, we’d seek out an alternative life to the ‘semi-traditional’ one we were living.

The twist of fate that brought us to Alamos involved David’s mother, Margo, who fell in love with and married Richard Howells. Not only was Richard a great guy, he happened to have an old house in Alamos. In February 1994, we took a month off and road tripped down to Alamos in a big van we borrowed from Backroads. We took all the ‘libre’ ways on the highway and the journey was a long one with two small girls. As we drove into Alamos at 3 a.m., we were immediately blown away by the beauty of the town. And as the door was opened to La Ciudadela, Margo and Richard’s historic, elegant, semi-lived-in, house, we stepped into the magic of Alamos.

That was in 1994… now it’s 2012 and we are still here and Alamos is our home. In the first few years, we made our home in the magical La Ciudadela and slowly began fixing up the old place, which was an endless job, but worth it. We explored the area around Alamos on mountain bike, on foot and by car, spending much time getting lost on the Sierra de Alamos and biking all the back roads we could find. Salina and Elly played their days away in the many corners of La Ciudadela. They learned to ride their bikes on the streets around the plaza (back when there were barely any cars!). It didn’t take them long to make friends and our place was always full of girls of all ages who came to play. Some of these girls are still strong family friends to this day. We began to pick up the occasional odd job… like hanging Christmas lights in trees of the courtyards of people’s homes. We also started to take people out on hikes and rides and such. For the first four years, we didn’t have a  phone so everything was done rather creatively!

We had fixed up the Ciudadela to the point where we started renting rooms and sort of magically created a great little business. During that time, we also participated in a FAM (familiarization) trip for birding tour companies, and that is when David fell in love with birding. After several more years of back and forth, we decided to put our ‘eggs in one basket,’ and we created our business, Solipaso S.A. de C.V., which allowed us to work legally in ‘tourist services.’

Meanwhile, the girls were happily attending school next door to our house. I became president of the PTA and participated in school activities for the duration of their time in the public school system in Alamos. Being a part of the school system here has given us the opportunity to really become a part of the community and although we were ‘different’, we were always fully embraced. Salina and Elly were the first foreigners to go all the way through school in Alamos and graduate from the Cobach!

Margo and Richard retired and moved to Alamos, and we moved into the Obregon 3 building, which we remodeled a bit into Café del Sol and our new home. El Pedregal, which was Elizabeth Nuzum’s little art studio and country getaway, wasn’t really for sale, but she was happy to sell it to someone who would continue to grow her vision of El Pedregal. We bought the surrounding land from the Jacobys  and proceeded to scheme, dream, dig and build our little nature lodge and retreat center. All the girls’ friends came out to have fun. We bought them a scooter, which won us major points and allowed them to zip around all over Alamos.

El Pedregal is now our home and business in Alamos. We created a sanctuary for us and our guests. I have my sacred straw bale yoga studio and massage room that I enjoy every moment I’m in there. David has his bountiful vegetable garden. The birds have their feeders and the dogs live the good life here. We continue to run Solipaso tours: small group birding and natural history trips all over Mexico, as well as a few local day trips. I’ve gotten more involved with conservation, working with Nature and Culture International, and donating my time to live the dream of creating a park and green space for Alamos.

Alamos has been a great place to be a family and to raise our children, who are now both off in the world doing their thing as amazing young women. It has provided us with the freedom to create our own reality and our own business where no two days are the same, life is dynamic and interesting, and where one can truly make a difference. All while it has always been just a good and peaceful place work and live. We continue to travel with our work and wander the world, but it’s always good to get home to Alamos.


Patricia Hamilton. Photo by Joan Gould Winderman.

I was born in California and lived in a small farming community in the San Joaquin Valley until age nine. We had many Mexican school chums, neighbors, workers, and friends. My sister, brother, and I still occasionally recall the kind Mamacita of one classmate, who welcomed us after school to her table. My love of all things Mexican was born consuming bowls of pintos and plenty of tortillas.

In 1955, my father began a three-year odyssey of moving the family around in Washington and Oregon.My love of travel was born on the side of the old Hwy 99, as my mother prepared food on a Coleman stove.

In 1977, while living in Canada as a controller for a large company—sent there to hire and train accountants—I met and married the interior landscape designer, the “Plant Guy.” I decided to publish his plant knowledge, and found a book at the library, called simply, Bookmaking. We bought a used typesetting machine, made some proof copies, and did a test market. We moved to California, where we eventually wrote, published, and marketed 20 books, which are still the standard of the industry. With the recession of 1988, our market had been saturated, I was pursuing my spiritual awakening, and the husband fled back to Canada.

I moved to Pacific Grove, California, where I had family, and enrolled in the University of California at Santa Cruz to complete my degree in philosophy and religious studies. During my final year I took advantage of their study abroad program at the University of Lancashire in the north of England. I visited three family manor homes from the 1500s while there and wrote and published a book about my British flat mates and, Peace Consciousness in Findhorn and Belfast, to satisfy the President’s Fellowship I had received.

I loved Europe and wanted to stay. On spring break I took a plane to Spain to find a job teaching English as a second language. The information booth at the Alicante airport directed me to Elche, known for its language schools. After I found a pensión that would take me (single women traveling alone were suspect), and with my bi-lingual curriculm vitae in hand, I walked the streets and knocked on several doors before securing a position. Elche has the largest palm forests in Europe (grown for Palm Sunday) and I loved to sit among them, converse with people strolling by, and enjoy the nightlife, which usually lasts into the wee hours of the morning. I began my study of Reiki in Spain, from a traveling German teacher, which led to certification as Reiki Master and Teacher in 2009. In 2010 I began practicing Transcendental Meditation and became enamored of Byron Katie and her mantra, “Suffering is optional.”
I returned to the U.S. in 1996, and started Park Place Publications in Pacific Grove, writing and publishing my own travel guides, and helping others self-publish their books, too. Travel, reading, writing, and bookmaking have been a constant theme in my life since high school.

Donna Love invited me to Álamos after I had published her book, To Make the House Complete, which included renovating two homes in Álamos. I saw her photos that were of, to my mind, the quintessential Mexican village I had envisioned since those first grade frijoles. Upon arrival in Álamos in February 2010, I was elated. My friend Sally had traveled with me and we were both enchanted and delighted by the church and plaza, the street vendors, las tiangas, the friendly expats and natives, and of course the exotic plants and animals. We rented a roomy casita from Diana Roslee. After a couple of weeks, I relaxed into the slower pace and really began to soak in the ambiance: the soft breezes, swaying palms, chatter on the streets. I bought dog food and gave it by handfuls to the street dogs. The Swickards hosted a book publishing talk for me, the room was packed—and everyone was so friendly and welcoming! While in Álamos I published two books: short stories for Diana Roslee’s grandchildren, and Good Deeds by Elizabeth Dale, stories by Americans about Mexican’s helping them.

I took Spanish lessons from Jose Trinidad Rangel. Stephanie Meyer invited me to go into the Reserve with her and for two days I enjoyed the backcountry hospitality, flora, and fauna. A lizard hibernating on the wall near my bed; a scorpion on the wall behind a pillow cushion I sat on, and I was living ‘dangerously’—cool! I determined to return.

On my 2011 trip I stayed with Diane Carpenter and every morning sat in reverence on her patio as I sipped coffee overlooking the plaza, town, and surrounding mountains as the sun rose. I fed carrots and apples to a small black horse on daily walks. He was suffering in the hot sun and with the help of Rigo, who works for Diane, secured and erected a tarp for his shade. Bengta Wolsing, who was providing hay to the little pony, later found a home in the country for him. One evening at Beatrice Sak’s I saw one of those red centipedes and the next day met a woman in the plaza who showed me the zipper scar she still had from its painful stings. My friend Alex Kerekes visited again and we took the McKay’s boat trip down the river where we saw luffahs growing on trees and ancient petroglyphs. I helped Lynda Borondes with a fundraiser to spay and neuter cats and dogs. I smashed eggs with locals in the plaza during the Cascarones festival and the Mexican family I met invited me to their home the next day for a barbecue. We met in town and shopped together for the ingredients. So welcoming! So loving!

On my last day in Álamos, March 30, 2011, I was having lunch at Teri’s with Donna Love, Joan Gould Winderman, Bernadette Mertens-McAllister, and Betsy Maier. Donna and Bernadette had a vision of a collection of ex-pat art and biography, which morphed into this book of women’s stories about our lives in Álamos. Joan has been relentless in rounding up stories and Donna has been religious in editing them for posting on the womenofÁ blog. I have been posting them and now designing the interior and book cover. I think Betsy fell in love some where along the line! It’s satisfying to read these stories and I’m grateful to be included. I am also very thankful to Donna for inviting me and to all her friends who have welcomed me, and all the others I’ve met and love. I am looking forward to our book launch, February 13, 2013, and many more years of enjoying all things Álamos.


April Quisenberry Pruitt. Photo by Janet Anderson.

As a child in southern California, I loved the architecture of the missions, the Mexican music, and the trips with classmates to Olvera Street, a mock Mexican town in Los Angeles. Later, in Colorado I became aware of the indigenous side of the story. These Spanish and their missions didn’t just arrive into empty land, but into a rich indigenous culture. The ways that the natives lived, their homes, families, music, art, what they ate, how they entertained themselves, and especially their spirituality began to become more and more interesting. Many of my friends, both when I was a child and young adult, were of Spanish or Mexican heritage and I was further attracted by the stories of my parents’ trips to Mexico, where my mother explored the area while my father painted.

Although there was ample opportunity for exposure to Spanish/Mexican architecture and culture for me in California and Colorado, firsthand knowledge of the indigenous peoples was slight. As an adult living and working with various Coast Salish Native peoples in the Pacific Northwest and Inupiat and Yup’ik (Eskimos) in Alaska, it was my chance to learn from actual participation rather than just from books. I never lost my love, however, for the Spanish architecture and for the Mexican people. And I did learn. In the 60s, while living in Kotzebue, an Inupiat village in Arctic Alaska, I had even proposed to build a Spanish or Moorish design house with an interior courtyard, rather than a typical Eskimo house that was open to the beach, to facilitate use of the resources of the sea. I was nearly laughed out of the village, since my Mexican house would surely fill up with drifted snow. The idea of an enclosed house was anathema to the Inupiat, whose dwellings are open to all who wish to enter and to whom the ownership of the land is as foreign as a walled garden.

In 1984, as my husband, Rod, and I made the transition from commercial salmon trolling and fish camps to our more traditional careers, we found ourselves with a winter free before our new life began. We packed up our three kids and spent the winter in Zihuatanejo and San Miguel de Allende. I knew that I must find a way to stay in Mexico.

In 2003 we found ourselves once again without obligation and with an opportunity to come to Mexico for a while. Jeannie Carpenter, Diane’s daughter, suggested we come down to Alamos and stay in Diane’s house. Although still in Alaska herself, Diane graciously agreed and gave us a long list of people to meet and things to do. We were in that beautiful house for about four months and spent each summer afterward renting various places in Alamos. One of those summers we found a little three-room Mexican house in El Perico with a large lot and five mature fruit trees. Perfect!

When Rod and I retired from school administration and youth wellness program administration in Alaska, we began to remodel the house and only had to go back to work in the States once to get doors and windows on it. Teaching on the Jicarilla Apache Nation in New Mexico for two years was an adventure more than a job for me.

All of these things brought me here but on a “long and winding road” that passed through tipis and tents, babies and teenagers, gurus, shamans, fishing boats, and even silk-shirt-and-high-heel jobs. The road always pointed me toward Alamos. There was a way all along to earn money in Alaska and live in Mexico; it’s called retirement and it took us many more years to reach that goal. Now that we’re back in Alamos, I have been able to continue learning about indigenous cultures of this wonderful country, thanks to my dear friend, Elena Chavarría.