Self-published Saturday: Travels and Tribulations

Self-Published Saturday (SPS) is my effort to help self-published and indie authors with the heavy task of marketing their books. Self-published authors have to do it all, from cover design to marketing and more. This is my effort to take a bit of that load and help promote their books. This week, we’re taking a look at a book of short stories by Tyrel Nelson based on his life and travels. Check out the review below. This will be my only SPS post today as I’m off to watch the grandbabies.


Travels and Tribulations is a collection of short stories by Tyrel Nelson about his life and travels. The stories are very well done and he has a way of pulling the reader into the adventure or emotion with him. 

One of my favorites in the collection is “Coming Around to Carnival.” We learn about the traditions in Ecuador of throwing water balloons or using squirt guns or other means to pelt each other with water during Carnival. Tired of getting wet, Tyrel travels to Ambata, Ecuador with a friend. In Ambata, water bombs are banned, but they spray each other with colored foam. The author’s description of celebrating in the streets and engaging in friendly foam fights is so descriptive you feel as if you are there. 

There is a wonderful mix of funny and sad in this book. The Old Man and the GMC is a hilarious tale of several encounters with a very bad driver, and another one of my favorite stories in this book. Just when you think you are safe, here comes the old man in the GMC again. The author also gives many sad but heartfelt tributes to his late parents. February 14, Lake Reflections, and My Takeaway are beautiful tributes to the author’s father. A Comfortable Silence, Time on the Line, and Memories of Mom and Mexico are among the tributes to his mother. 

Each story is touching, fascinating, or amusing in its own way. The author either takes the reader on an adventure to an amazing place or stirs the emotions with heartfelt stories of his life and family.

Overall this is an extremely well written collection, and the author’s descriptive ability is amazing. The reader can see the places Ty has been and they can feel his deepest emotions in these stories.

I would recommend this to anyone interested in well-told travel, adventure, and family stories.

4.5 stars. Rounded up to 5 on sites with no half-star option.

I received a free copy of this book from the author. I also purchased one on Amazon because I love to celebrate great writing.


Tyrel Nelson

Tyrel Nelson grew up in the southern part of the Twin Cities. He studied in Venezuela and Spain as an undergrad at the University of Minnesota. After earning a B.A. in Journalism and Spanish Studies, he received his School for International Training TESOL Certificate from the Experiment in International Living in Quito, Ecuador. Over the past fifteen years, Nelson has led many volunteer trips to Latin America and written a few nonfiction books, including his latest collection of stories, Travels and Tribulations. He lives in Minneapolis with his lively wife, bright-eyed daughter, and troublesome turtle.

Tyrel Nelson’s Amazon Author Page


Amazon US

Amazon UK

*If you buy the book(s), please leave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, as well as anywhere else you review books.  Some people feel very daunted by writing a review. Don’t worry. You do not have to write a masterpiece. Just a couple of lines about how the book made you feel will make the author’s day and help the book succeed. The more reviews a book has, the more Amazon will promote it.

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#Book Review: Amanda in Malta

Amanda in Malta: The Sleeping Lady is the 8th book in the Amanda Travels series by Darlene Foster. It can be read as a standalone. In this adventure, Amanda gets a postcard from her best friend Leah, and is surprised to learn Leah is visiting her aunt in Malta. Amanda gets the feeling that something is not quite right, so she travels to Malta with her friend Caleb and his parents, determined to find out if Leah is okay.

This is a delightful book that shares the customs, culture, geography, and history of Malta with Middle Grade readers. At the same time, mysteries are provided for them to solve. Amanda, Leah, and Caleb are on the case, trying to determine who is killing protected birds and what has happened to the famous statue of The Sleeping Lady. Amanda visits many popular sites in Malta, such as Popeye Village, museums, and a falconry. The book is engaging, well written, and full of interesting information. Children and adults will be captivated by the travel adventures of Amanda and her friends. I would recommend the whole series to middle graders and above, as this is a fun way for everyone to learn about different locations in the world. 

I received a free copy of this book from the publishers. My review is voluntary and my opinions are my own.


Darlene Foster dreamt of writing, travelling the world, and meeting interesting people. She also believed in making her dreams come true. It’s no surprise she’s now the award-winning author of Amanda Travels, a children’s adventure series about a spunky twelve-year-old who loves to travel to unique places. Readers from seven to seventy enjoy travelling with Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another. A world traveller herself, Darlene spends her time in Vancouver, Canada and the Costa Blanca, in Spain.