WOW, am I ecstatic! My first literary review in English, of The Fragrance of Angels, came out in my hometown mag, Carlsbad Magazine. What a wonderful feeling.
Wendy Hinman put together ‘Summer Reads, Carlsbad Style”, with the opening of “stretch out your beach towel with books from local authors,” and what a list she put together. I feel so honored to be a part of it! There are so many reasons and people in this issue that make it feel complete, not to mention that Wendy gave me one of the best compliments I could have asked for, which is, “Halda just tells her story and what she learned without being preachy.” That was exactly my intent, so it’s wonderful to know that I achieved this.
She starts out mentioning the renowned local author Victor Villasenor and how his stories describe recognizable environments, and that it is an encore of sorts for the 2016 reading list. I wrote my book honoring a promise to my father, Ray Brookhart, who Villasenor describes in his memoir Burro Genius (pages 296-297.) My father had been one of Villasenor’s teachers, and Villasenor’s words about my Dad describes him to a ‘T’.
However, there is more to this tale. A Fragrance of Angels stands between the magazine’s covers with friendly faces and names. There was Caulerpa Conquest, written by a new friend, Eric Noel Munoz, which covers the story of an invasive marine seaweed that nearly smothered the Agua Hedionda Lagoon. Eric was among the key members of a community and statewide effort to eradicate Caulerpa taxifolia from the lagoon. This book was edited by my honey Robert Yehling, so I have a little more understanding of what a huge accomplishment this effort was.
Next, Shirts & Skins was written by local legend Gregory R. Nelson, Sr. I got to know Greg first at about the age of ten. Greg was like a big brother, a type of counselor of sorts. When he first started out, Greg worked with my dad at The Army Navy Academy and Greg was the cool young guy when I attended summer camp there. The book relates how sports can help create the drive, direction and passion in a man or women, a drive and habit that can later present itself well in business and life. Greg spent years, and many of his philanthropic talents and dollars, raising boys to men at the Carlsbad Boys Club. I also knew him from golfing; we had been members at the same country club. During my coma (detailed in The Fragrance of Angels) he and his stunning wife, Barbie, asked their kids’ youth group to pray for me for the two months I was under. They later told me that my recovery was a beacon of sorts for those kids. I am honored to be in the same summer reads reviews as Greg.
I don’t know author Cynthia Mestad Johnson, but I can’t wait to read her book Legendary Locals of Carlsbad. I’m sure once again to feel at home reading stories of our wonderful town, many of which I may have already heard.
The piece d’resistance, when it comes to being at home, is that the cover story is about longtime good friend Billy Stang. The feature article, also written by Wendy Hinman is titled “Pure Stang Pure Stoke – the last of the great soul surfers.” I have to say Billy is certainly that… A Soul Surfer. It was great fun reading Billy’s story as he describes stories of the mid to late 70’s. Billy discusses how he gave up competition and the life of a professional surfer to stay real and keep his sport about the stoke and joy, not the greed.
I have to say this first literary review could not have been more perfect for me. Everyone in this group of authors did exactly what Billy did — went out and wrote about what we have experienced, not for the cash, but for the pure stoke, the pure joy of life and love. What more do any of us need than that? Enjoy your summer with a good book, a book that can take you anywhere you want to go.