Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Ein Kaiser unterwegs (An Emperor en Route)

New post over at the Maximilian ~ Carlota blog , on Konrad Ratz and Amparo Gómez Tepexicuapan's book on Maximilian's travels 1864 - 1867.

The Maximilian ~ Carlota blog, a blog for researchers (both serious and armchair) on Mexico's Second Empire / French Intervention, is updated on Tuesdays.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Book Trailer for Sky Over El Nido

I am endlessly astonished by the changes in the book business. As a writer, it feels like riding the Matterhorn: I'm never sure what's around the next bend (a dip or the Yeti?). Back in 1995, when the University of Georgia Press published Sky Over El Nido, my first collection of stories, a book typically came out in hardcover, received a passle of reviews from magazines and newspapers, and then (if luck had it) there would be paperback edition. Maybe movie options. Maybe foreign rights. Maybe (very rarely) audio. But that was pretty much the whole show. And in less than a slew of weeks, the book would be gone from the bookstore shelves-- adios! Out of sight, out of mind, out of print. (And whoever bothered to read back issues of newspapers for old reviews?) Now, of course, we have websites (mine, www.cmmayo.com, went live in 1999). We have e-books outselling print books, and who knows, maybe "vooks" (video books) will soon take off. Newspaper and magazine reviews are ever scarcer, while blogs, legions of them, have filled in the vaccuum. And because of on-line booksellers such as amazon.com, buyers can find a universe of books, from ye olde best-sellers to the most obscurely self-published, from 1895 or 2005, 2010 or 1973--- and at 4 am, should they happen to be surfing at such an hour.

So: herewith, some 15 years after the book's original publication, is the trailer, a 2 minute video, for Sky Over El Nido. Yes, Sky Over El Nido is still in print in a paperback edition. E-book coming soon.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Feria Internacional del Libro, Guadalajara: El último príncipe del Imperio Mexicano

This Saturday November 27th at 6 pm at the Feria Internacional del Libro in Guadalajara, I will be presenting my novel, El último príncipe del Imperio Mexicano (Grijalbo Random House Mondadori), which is the magnificent translation by Agustín Cadena of my novel The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire (Unbridled Books).

(Last year, I presented the English version, and blogged about the fair here and here--- and also about Literal, its editor, my amiga Rose Mary Salum, and a little literary history including about Tameme and El corno emplumado. One of the people I was especially happy to see last year was Spanish and Ladino translator Trudy Balch, who, alas, passed away last month in New York. Read Trudy's fascinating guest-blog post about Mexican activist Gaby Brimmer here.)

The two writers who will be presenting my novel at FIL are Carlos Pascual (author of La insurgenta, winner of the Grijalbo award for best bicentennial historical novel), and historian Alejandro Rosas. (Alejandro also presented the English version of the novel in Mexico City last year.)

P.S. Carlos is also an actor; I think he may read a section of the novel.

The details / Los detalles:
Presentación del libro
El último príncipe del imperio mexicano por C.M. Mayo
Carlos Pascual, Alejandro Rosas
18:00 a 18:50
Salón Elías Nandino, planta alta, Expo Guadalajara

The event is free and open to the public.

More anon.

Trudy Balch

Trudy Balch, translator of Spanish and Ladino, rest in peace. It was an honor to have known you.

P.S. Read Trudy's guest-blog post for Madam Mayo blog, about her translation of Gaby Brimmer's most unusual memoir, here.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

My Recollections of Maximilian by Marie de la Fère: A Rare English Language Eyewitness Memoir

The historian Robert Ryal Miller mentioned this rare manuscript, a circa 1910 English language handwritten eyewitness memoir of Maximilian, in a letter to me some years ago. He had found it at the Bancroft Library, University of California, Berkeley, and was preparing an edited and annotated version for publication. Alas, Miller died in 2004 without, as far as I know, having published it. I have not seen what Miller wrote, I am sad to say, for I understand he had identified the author whose name was not — as I too, immediately suspected -- "Marie de la Fère." When I visited the Bancroft as part of my own research for my novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, I dutifully looked up this manuscript. I was glad I did, for, among so many other things, it gave me insight into the strong feelings of the monarchists and Maximilian's character. After Miller's death, as I felt this memoir deserved more readers than we intrepid few who have eyes for microfiches... Continue reading about it at my other blog, "Maximilian ~ Carlota."

Monday, November 15, 2010

Blog Tour (What's a Blog Tour?) for The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire

El último príncipe del Imperio Mexicano is out in Mexico, and so I'm south of the border for the time being (and happy to say, it's already gone into a second printing!). Meanwhile, the bookstore tour behind me (from DC to CA in 2009), I'm doing a fall U.S. "blog tour" for the English original, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, which is now out in paperback.

What's a "blog tour"? Just a series of "visits"-- it might be a Q & A or a guest-blog post, on blogs that cover subjects related to the book. In some cases my publisher, Unbridled Books, provided books for a giveaway to readers. It's a delightful kind of tour because I get to find out about other bloggers, reach out to new readers-- and not have to pack a suitcase!

So far:

Mary J. LohnesInterview with C.M. Mayo "The Politics of Love"

Latina Book ClubQ & A with blogger Maria Ferrer

A review and an interview by blogger Margaret Donsbach

Hist-Fic-Chick: Celebrating History Through Literature
"Haunted Historicals: The Curious Coincidences Involving Senator Claiborne Pell's Mansion"
--> Now a podcast (and check out more podcasts on my page at iTunes).

Girls Just Reading "The Story of the Story of The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire"
Also: a review by Julie

Jenn's Bookshelves
An interview; also a review by Jenn.

Some previous stops on the "blog tour" (some from 2009) include:

"What Connects You to the 1860s?"

"12 Tips to Help You Hang in There and Finish Your Novel"

Largehearted Boy
Playlist for The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire

Red Room
C.M. Mayo Celebrates a Batch of Bookstores

Potomac Review Blog
"Who Knew That Mexico Had a Half-American Prince? (And How Did His Mother, a Washington Belle, End Up in Mexico?)"

Reading Group Guides
"A Book Group Meeting Menu"

Savvy Verse & Wit
Interview by Serena M. Agusto-Cox

Coffee with a Canine
C.M. Mayo & Picadou

Write On! On-line
Interview by Deborah Eckerling

Christina Baker Kline: Writing/Life"Break the Block in Five Minutes"

Critical Mass: The Blog of the National Book Critics Circle
Interview by Rigoberto Gonzalez

---> Coming up this week: She Read a Book blog

More anon.

P.S. Read more about blog tours at Diane Saarinen's Book Blog Tour Guide Blog; also historical novelist Sandra Gulland has an informative post at Red Room about her amazing 2009 blog tour for Mistress of the Sun.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Guest-Blogger Janice Eidus on 5 Vampire Links to Sink Your Teeth Into

Creeeepy coincidences!! I just posted my "Haunted Historical Fiction" podcast, and, aside from plowing down the ever-rising Himalaya of e-mail, I have on my schedule for this week "start translating vampire story" (more about that anon). Then, in comes this week's guest-blog post on ... vampires?! Well, it's by my amiga, the crackerjack New York-and-San Miguel de Allende novelist Janice Eidus, author of the sublime The War of the Rosens, whose new -- yes--- vampire novel, The Last Jewish Virgin, is getting rave reviews. National Public Radio's Marion Winik calls it "Twilight... with a sense of humor, a brain, and a feminist subtext." Over to you, Janice!

Five Vampire Links To Sink Your Teeth Into

With my new novel, The Last Jewish Virgin (which I call my Feminist Fashionista Jewish Vampire Novel), I tried to reimagine and reinvent the vampire myth for contemporary times. The main character is Lilith Zeremba, a young woman living in New York City. Proud of her rationality and secular beliefs, Lilith is determined to remain a virgin until she reaches her goal of becoming a mega-successful fashion designer. Despite herself, she finds her soulmate -- her bashert, as it’s called in Yiddish -- in a completely unexpected, untraditional way -- replete with vampires, as well as feminism, real estate, fashion, and a seriously funny look at contemporary urban Jewish life.

While writing The Last Jewish Virgin, I immersed myself in all things vampires, along the way discovering and rediscovering novels, short stories, poems, critical works, films, plays, TV shows, and websites. Now it’s my pleasure to share five delicious vampire sites with you:

#1. New York Times’ critic Jason Zinoman’s series for Slate Magazine on Alan Ball’s HBO show, True Blood.
(Below are links to a few of his columns; you can easily find others). His writing is accessible, witty, and original. While dissecting True Blood, he simultaneously explores the historical, literary, and metaphorical roots of the vampire myth as well as its contemporary incarnations. If you’re drawn to things vampiric (even if you’ve never watched True Blood), you’ll be intrigued. Don’t miss his take on the “vampire-vs.-werewolf” debate (he comes out strongly on the side of True Blood’s vampires), as well as his analysis of how the show’s creators shock and disturb viewers with the increasingly “fluid sexuality” of their characters.

This is Your Brain on Blood;
True Blood Reinvents Vampire Sex;
Style, Soap, Sex – and Splat!

#2. Fresh Fiction
Fresh Buzz generously reprints NPR columnist and vampire aficionado Margot Adler’s “Vampire Book List” in its entirety. Adler’s list is extraordinarily extensive and never elitist. She’s fascinated by the ethical and moral dilemma vampires face because of the tremendous power they wield over mortals. (Among my own favorite vampire books are: Bram Stoker’s Dracula -- like a vampire, it never grows old for me; Fledgling, in which the late African-American writer, Octavia E. Butler, blends the vampire myth with science fiction in order to explore race and prejudice in a fresh way; Anne Rice’s romantic and cinematic Interview With The Vampire; The Vampire Tapestry by Suzy McKee Charnas, about a lonely, intellectual vampire obsessed with understanding who he is and how he came to be.)

#3. The Coolest Vampire Art Gallery
Quirky and cultish, this online art gallery straddles the line between serious and kitschy. If you happen to “love the sight of female vampires in art,” and yearn to see portraits of such vampire vixens as “Macabre Mistress” and “Midnight Temptress,” this is the site for you. (You also can vote here on such pressing issues as whether Brad Pitt or Keifer Sutherland is the hotter vampire.)

#4. Only Good Movies: Vampires
A comprehensive list of “best” vampire movies culled from all over the internet, with well-deserved special attention devoted to the Swedish film Let The Right One In (recently remade in English), an exquisite horror/romance based on the novel of the same name. It’s the story of an emotionally fragile, bullied twelve-year-old boy who develops a friendship with a female vampire child who ultimately rescues him from the bullies. (Among my favorite films are Near Dark, the best -- perhaps the only! -- vampire/Western/horror film ever made; The Vampire Lovers, based on Sheridan Le Fanu’s bold lesbian vampire tale, Carmilla; John Badham’s incredibly sensual Dracula; The Lost Boys, the teen/comedy horror film that speaks as much to adults as teens; Andy Warhol’s Dracula, in which Udo Kier’s languid Dracula is wasting away due to the world’s scarcity of virgin blood; The Hunger, surely inspired by Le Fanu’s Carmilla, starring two of our most beautiful contemporary actresses, Catherine Deneuve and Susan Sarandon; and, Vampire’s Kiss, about a deranged vampire/literary agent played by Nicolas Cage -- in other words, one vampire that’s difficult for at least one writer I know to resist.)

#5. Monstrous Vampires
In an entertaining and vivid fashion, this website presents an encyclopedic wealth of information and visuals about all things vampire, from classic literature to real life blood fetishes, from the mythic to the concrete. Read here to learn about “Minor Historical Vampires,” including Vlad the Impaler and Erzsebeth Bathory, as well as “Psychic Vampires” and “Psychotic Vampires.” Along the way, learn a thing or two about “Animal Vampires,” “The Vampire As A Scapegoat,” “Human Living Vampires,” “Famous Vampire Hunters,” and “The Blood Fetish Vampire.” This website may be the Ur-website of all vampire websites.

--- Janice Eidus

---> For the archive of Madam Mayo guest-blog posts, click here.

P.S. Read Janice Eidus's previous guest-blog post for Madam Mayo, apropos of her splendid novel,
The War of the Rosens: "Five (mas o menos) directly or very indirectly Mexico-related Websites"

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Monday, November 08, 2010

Mexico City Melissa Garden with Picadou

This is a photo of my Melissa Garden, a rooftop with pots of lavender; and that's my muse, the inky minky chica, Picadou. Read more about Melissa Gardens here.

P.S. The other day I was googling "Melissa Garden" when I came upon an artist named, in fact, Melissa Garden Streblow. Check out her website; she's very talented.

Thursday, November 04, 2010

I Love QR Code!

If you have an iPhone, you can read the QR code and it will take you to my webpage, www.cmmayo.com. My next book will have QR code for each page, so you can go from the book to videos, podcasts, photos, articles, other websites, and more. Stay tuned.
P.S. Need a QR reader? It's free at qrcode.kaywa.com

More anon.