Weather Report, Sept. 19

Native-American sweat lodge. (Pinterest).

Our currently featured books, “The White Tree Quartet,” by Mary Pacifico Curtis, “Buddha Was a Cowboy,” by Junior Burke and “The Viola Factor” by Sheridan Brown, can be found by scrolling down below this post, or by clicking the author’s name on our Authors page.


Since this is a light week for Snowflakes in a Blizzard, and given that this year marks the 25th anniversary of the death of Princess Diana, I’m including a lookback at a previous Snowflakes book, Jo Salas’ “Dancing With Diana.”



A travel memoir that ventures from his smalltown upbringing to vastly different cultures around the globe, Tom Montgomery Fate comes to define “home” not as a physical location, but as a way of belonging. “Migrating birds have an internal compass that allows them to home their way back to their nesting place each spring,” he writes. “For birds, home is both verb and noun—both journey and destination.” The same is true for Fate. Whether he is bobbing in a canoe in the freezing rain with his son on a Canadian lake, praying with Lakota elders in a sweat lodge in South Dakota, or teaching English in a remote Filipino village, these are not stories of arrival. They are detours of discovery, a spiritual wayfinding through the wilderness of time and memory.


Sky of Infinite Blue describes the author Kyomi O’Connor’s spiritual journey. Kyomi believes it’s a shared journey for everyone.

Right from the start, Kyomi’s life was full of emotional difficulties; an adulterous father, an over-reliant mother, and a dismissive extended family. To escape her dark life in Japan, Kyomi left Japan for the states to start her new life, where she fell in love with her future husband: Patrick, a warm, charismatic cancer researcher who helped her to finally heal her past traumas through his unconditional love and support.

Together, they changed careers and moved to San Diego, where they dedicated themselves to the Buddhism practice that had changed their lives and aided them in their spiritual growth and desire to help others.

Then Patrick was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic melanoma in his brain, and after a fierce, three-year battle against cancer, he passed away. Kyomi was lost in grief. But when she started writing after his passing, she realized that doing so surfaced many old, unhealed wounds and ultimately became her daily spiritual practice, uncovering truth from the darkness.

In this part immigrant memoir, part spiritual meditation, Kyomi shares how, even with her husband gone, she found the love and light that had been within her all along.


Visiting a school for disabled boys, 15-year-old Diana singles out wheelchair-bound Alex to dance with—a five-minute encounter that colors the rest of his life, though quickly forgotten by her. Alex, a survivor of brutal school bullying, thinks constantly of the tall girl with blue eyes. One day he sees her on television, the new fiancée of Prince Charles. Alex follows her life with secret pride, which turns to concern as her private anguish comes to light. Their paths cross once more when Diana visits Alex’s small town.

Alex’s story interweaves with the account of Diana’s final day before her fatal accident. In the unsatisfying company of her billionaire boyfriend she careens from one luxurious, alien Paris location to another. Paparazzi pursue and torment her. All day she tries to reach a friend in the government who might have news for her—news that could bring a new direction to her life.

Writes Jo: Dancing with Diana was prompted by a true story: at 15, Diana and her boarding school class visited a home for disabled people. While the other girls hung back in shyness and distaste, Diana danced joyfully with a man in a wheelchair–her gift for empathy already evident at that young age. Reading about this moment, I wondered what it was like for the man she danced with.

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Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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