Books for travel & books for the holiday, pick your choice!

It’s that time again when you are trying to find just the right gift, whether for someone to read on the road or tucked up tight in bed or covered up cozy on the couch I know for me and perhaps many of those in your life, a good book may be just the answer to your last minute gift choice.

Books come in all sizes and subjects and writing them is a dream of the author. Each word, each page is a labor of love.

For Jane Aumann and I writing our children’s farm books was a way to help preserve the ever changing scene of agriculture and writing my fiction novels soothed a place I always wanted to be as a published author.

I have selected a group of authors, several that I have met through the Midwest Travel Bloggers community, and they have been kind enough to share a bit of their journey with me and talk about their books and how they got from idea to a published manuscript. Read on and you might find the answer to questions you have about book writing, and also find that missing gift you are looking for.

Kylie Neuhas, who I recently caught up with in Iowa City explained, “I’m Kylie, a British expat that immigrated to Iowa, USA. I went through the year-long Green Card visa process after I met (and married) an American that I met while on vacation in Jamaica. My book documents my first year living in the USA, literally a month by month account of my life. It covers everything from; homesickness, to my travels, to my blogging journey, to the culture shock I experienced living in Iowa! I both laughed and cried while writing it!”

This heart-warming book is called, “Between England & Iowa: A Year In The Life Of An Emigrating Wife”. Kylie also has a blog of the same name “I was inspired to write it after I kept a journal during my first year. After joining expat groups, it seems that most people feel very alone when it comes to processing the thoughts and feelings that come with living abroad, as no one around them really understands quite what it’s like. Part of my book wants to help expats realize that they are not alone, their feelings are very normal. But then it’s also aimed at people that AREN’T expats, in attempt to show them what the process is like and what goes on behind the scenes, share things that people find completely normal in their day to day life but for an expat, it can be totally alien!”

Kylie’s book, it is available on Amazon in Kindle in eBook format (worldwide) and paperback (US and European Amazon stores)!

I recently traveled to Chicago for Theresa Goodrich’s book launch. I connected with Theresa last year in Charles City, Iowa on a fun trip, then again in Hendricks County Indiana this fall. Theresa explained how her book came to be. “I’m the founder and publisher of The Local Tourist. I love being outdoors and am slightly obsessed with camping, history, and road trips. My book, which covers a thirty-one day romp from the Chicago area to San Diego and back, encompasses all three. It’s part travelogue and part travel memoir, and covers places that you find of two lane roads.”

This book covers travel and Theresa’s journey while doing it. She shared what inspired her to write it. “My book is titled “Two Lane Gems, Vol. 1: Turkeys are jerks and other observations from an American road trip.” Ever since I was a little girl I wanted to travel the country and tell its stories. I wanted to share the beauty of this country and just how much there is to experience.”

“Two Lane Gems” can be found on and on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

For those that love sports and the Cubs, Robert George’s book may be just what you are looking for. Robert shared, “I am a 40 year old father of two. My daughter, Ivy, is 2 and my son, William Waveland, is one. I work in IT, but my wife encouraged me to write, “F Is For Finally”, my first book, after the Cubs finally won their first World Series in over a century. My wife had been pushing me to write a book for years and, with two young children and my beloved Cubbies (finally) winning it all, she convinced me now is the perfect time to write a book for the kids. As I began the project, I found inspiration not just from my wife and children, but from all the people who have waited and waited for this moment for all of their lives, as well as those who waited and waited and did not live long enough to see it.”

Cub fans (and I have a son-in-law who is one and numerous cousins as well!) will love the layout of the book where they can share their love of baseball and namely the Cubs with their kids. “The book is an A to Z, rhyming alphabet book about the 2016 Chicago Cubs’ amazing postseason run which culminated in the Cubs winning that elusive World Series championship,” Robert said. “While it is definitely a children’s book, geared towards reading beginners, it has found a real niche with adults as a great keepsake for the season for which we all had been waiting. Along with the rhymes for each letter, each page gives an interesting factoid from which adults will learn something interesting, as well.”

The book is available at bookstores, Amazon,, and, preferably, through Robert’s website, “If you order directly from us, I will sign the book and personalize it to whomever you’d like, free of charge! Just email and reference the name on the order and to whom it should be personalized!”

Gretchen Michels Garrison also wrote a book about her beloved state of Nebraska. “In July 2013, I started to write about the people, and places of Nebraska, both past and present. In 2016, the History Press contacted me and asked if I would write a book that featured the same approach.”

Gretchen continued, “After prayerful consideration and consulting with others, I decided this was a great opportunity. I traveled over 2,000 miles last year to visit additional Nebraska places.”

The result of all that work is “Detour Nebraska: Historical Destinations and Natural Wonders” which, was published October 30, 2017. The book is available on Amazon and Arcadia Publishing.

Writing a book is not always about being published, but sometimes sharing things you love with the people you love. Such was the story of my good friend, Suzette Starr. “I am a retired Computer professional, wife, mother, grandmother and bibliophile who has always loved collecting quotes/poems that inspired me, reflected my views and/or made me smile,” Suzette said.

Taking her love of quotes/poems, she compiled her book, In A Few Words, which is the second volume of quotes and poems she put together in 2008 as a gift to her family members and friends. “My first volume (Expressions of Myself) was put together 20 years prior. My main reasons for sharing these writings were to entertain these folks, allow them a little view of the world through my eyes at certain times in my life, and hopefully give these people something to smile about.”
If interested in Suzette’s book, send me a note, and I will share her contact information with you.

Writing a book is a labor of love and purchasing a book you know will fit the bill for a loved one is too. I have bought two books this year for my family members and I know they are just the right subject. I hope these books or others will find a way to your home and into your hands!

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  1. Gretchen Garrison

    Thank you for including my book in such great list of travel books!

    1. Cindy

      Thanks for sharing. I love to read and wanted others to know some of what is new and out there!