Friday, August 31, 2012

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Multiple Editions Across Multiple Platforms

Ebooks on my mind these days.... using the iBook Author app, I'm putting together the iBookstore multimedia interactive ebook, Podcasting for Writers and Other Creative Entrepreneurs... this one will be an iBook ebook edition only, but some of my other works are -- and will-- be available in multiple editions across multiple platforms.

For example:
From Mexico to Miramar or, Across the Lake of Oblivion, is a long form essay of creative nonfiction that originally appeared in The Massachusetts Review. Then a double CD. Then a Kindle. Then an iBook edition. And the iBook edition includes video, color, more design, etc,-- thanks to the iBook Author app, it is a substantially richer edition than the Kindle. (But let's see what the Kindle is up to next.)

P.S. Writer and designer Craig Mod has this to say-- and show-- about Art Space Tokyo and platforming books. Viva the future, here now.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Guest-Blogger Author and Survivor Joan Young's 5 Inexpensive and Unexpected Tips for Healthy Living

I met Joan Young at the recent "Publish Now!" seminar the Writer's Center and when she told me about her book, Wish by Spirit: A Journey of Recovery and Healing from an Autoimmune Disease, I was fascinated. It's an eye-opener of a memoir, and for anyone suffering from a serious health condition, a walloping dose of inspiration. 

Read excerpts from her book, and also, be sure to check out her links page for alternative health resources, on her webpage, .

5 Inexpensive and Unexpected Tips for Healthy Living
 By Joan Young

For the last 20 years, on my quest to remain healthy, I learned of many ways to avoid pills and take control of my body in a more natural way. I love these might-help-can’t-harm techniques and am pleased to share some of them with you.
Irrigate your nose – Drip warm salt water through your nose and spit. Sounds awful, but is really quite soothing. Based on an Ayurvedic (ancient Indian) medicine tradition, this technique has been used for thousands of years to help prevent colds and sinus infections, mitigate allergies, and keep the nostrils open for easy breathing. 
Chew your food – Not the usual 4 or 5 chomps per bite, but 20, 30 or more helps you lose weight, improve digestion, and kill bacteria. 
Regulate your breath – Breathing is the only autonomic nervous system function that works independently AND that you can control to regulate body functions such as blood pressure. Use breathing techniques to both energize your body and reduce stress. 
Cleanse with oil – Swish a tablespoon of vegetable oil in your mouth when you wake up to jump-start your metabolism, improve dental health, and clear those toxins from the body….another Ayurvedic tradition.
Drink hot water – Ditch the ice cubes and fire up the tea kettle to help detoxify your body and improve digestion… surprisingly helpful, even in the summer. Add a little lemon for an extra healing boost. 
---> For the complete archive of Madam Mayo guest-blog posts, click here.
--->Recent guest-blogs include Ellen Cassedy on 5 Links to Learn Yiddish; Peter Behrens on 4 Canadian and 1 Irish Writers You Must Read; and Harry Morales Celebrates Literary Translator Gregory Rabassa on His 90th Birthday.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Social Media Post-Adolescence

The other day via, I think it was Swiss Miss, I came across designer Lauren Venell's blog post on social media, "Stop Buying Garbage." Of late, I too have found the whole social media thing, and in particular, facebook and twitter, a giant yawn. At first-- for me, back in 2009-- it fascinated me, I enjoyed playing with it, learning about it-- above all, getting my mind around this newfangled thing, networking in digital media. FB is like that old tennis racket gathering cobwebs in the hall closet. It was fun for a time; I don't want to get rid of it, but neither do I have time for it right now. Ditto Twitter. Furthermore, FB seems to me Orwellian in its grabs for information and frequent shifts on its privacy policies. (Mr Zuckerberg, please change your thoroughly horrible gray T-shirt!!) I'm not erasing my FB and twitter accounts, and I'm not saying never, but... meh.

What still floats my boat, as far as digital media goes:
My webpage
My publishing company's webpage
My dad's webpage
Making Kindles and iBooks

In other words, I like making things, both providing content and design. So rather than fiddle around, I'd like to make more things. Stay tuned for the next Marfa Mondays podcast... It's a little overdue but bubbling in the oven. is the Future

Check out TaskRabbit for a quick escape from your next boondoggle. Yes, I'm a customer and I love it. (May more branches open ASAP!)

Monday, August 20, 2012

Literary Travel Writing Workshop on September 8th at the Writer's Center, Bethesda MD

Rainbow in Camp Denali, July 2012 (c) C.M. Mayo 2012
Take your travel writing to another level: the literary, which is to say, giving the reader the novelistic experience of actually traveling there with you. For both beginning and advanced writers, this workshop covers the techniques from fiction and poetry that you can apply to this specialized form of creative nonfiction for deliciously vivid effects. 

One day only, Sunday September 8 from 1 - 5 pm
The Writer's Center
4508 Walsh St
Bethesda MD (just outside Washington DC)

About the instructor:
C.M. Mayo is the author of the novel The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, which was named a Library Journal Best Book of 2009. She is also the author of Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles Through Baja California, the Other Mexico, a travel memoir of Mexico's Baja Califorinia peninsula; and Sky over El Nido, which won the Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction. She is the editor of a collection of Mexican literature in translation, Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion. For more about C.M. Mayo and her work, visit

>> For more information about this workshop and to register on-line click here.

We'll be looking at a variety of techniques, mainy from fiction and poetry, but one of the most basic for beginning a draft is simply noticing specific detail that appeals to the senses. From my notes from a recent journey to Alaska (you'll see it's not brain surgery):

Denali, of course. Spatulated lavender.
Other sights: 
receding moose; levering hind legs
polkadots of Dall sheep on green
3 blues of Wonder Lake

eeee  eeee eeee
gravel underfoot
freeway roar of distant river

wet moss
drying socks
hot chocolate

cloudberry (spit the pip!)
Hoof N Woof honey (flowers of a season ago)
cinnamon gummy bear 

unfriendly bear pelt
chocolatey-suave beaver pelt
sinking into spongy tundra mosses

Bright on the ground:
monk's hood; mushroom caps, sparkle of water

In the sky:
eagle; rainbow; moon

New to remember:
charismatic megafauna
braided river
Michio Hoshino's photographs and mini-essays

+ + + +

For further surfing:

>From the Workshop: Literary Travel Writing by C.M. Mayo, Writer's Carousel, Spring 2009

>Listen to my most recent Marfa Mondays podcast, "We Have Seen the Lights"

>Read some excerpts from my memoir, Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico. 

>Recommended travel memoirs.

> Questions about this workshop? Just ask!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

One Q & One A with "Listen Well" Podcaster Margaret Dulaney

Podcasting, that is, posting on-line audio (and now also video) files, has been around for a while but it's catching on as listeners, especially the over 40 set, are realizing there are, literally, troves of fabulous podcasts, almost all free, to listen to while commuting, cooking, exercising, or just sitting in a chair enjoying the view. Yes, those troves take a little work to find, as they are scattered across yea, vaster than vast fields of um, compost. But a treasure trove is a treasure trove (and as Gertrude would say), is a treasure trove. And one of the most sparkling treasures in the trove is Margaret Dulaney's monthly offering at "Listen Well." 

Continuing my ongoing series of Q & A with other podcasters, herewith Margaret Dulaney answers my question, How did you get started with "Listen Well"?

It all began with a love of a good transcendent story. I can read a hundred “how to” books on how to be happy, how to mourn, how to lift myself out of despair, and still remain the same old stagnant, lead-headed me. But, give me one true story… tell me a sad, funny, tragic, but ultimately uplifting story, and I walk away enlightened, literally shining with a little more light. 
At some point about ten years ago, having written plays for many years, I picked up the pen to tell my own stories. I hoped they would help lift a few people.
The tricky moment came when I lifted my head above the page to wonder where these stories might land.

One day I was staring out into my back yard in Bucks County Pennsylvania. My eyes were trained on the old barn that my husband, record producer, Matt Balitsaris, had converted fifteen years earlier into his recording studio, Maggie’s Farm. I was halfway through my stare when suddenly I had a sort of waahhh moment. “Hey, what if I really told my stories?” I brightened, “Spoke them myself? Mmm,” I remember thinking, “it could be like being read to at bedtime, delicious.” 
That was the beginning of Listen Well, a website offering spoken word stories of the transcendent, thought-provoking variety. Once a month, Listen Well posts a ten-minute spoken piece of writing that explores the possibility of the great presence of spirit behind our daily lives, a story of transcendence.

It’s a newish idea. I call it a “Blab.” 
I launched the site in February of 2010, and it is possible to listen to pieces from those early months on the archive page. 
Each piece is about ten or fifteen minutes long and I would say that each posting typically requires about one month of preparation. I begin with an idea, grab a pencil, eventually move to my computer, edit furiously, send it off to my editor to be further edited, employ many of her good ideas, and then wait for my husband to have the time to record me in his studio.
Although I try and read the piece many times in order not to make mistakes, I end up making plenty of mistakes, which Matt very kindly fixes for me. Once the piece is nice and tidy, Matt puts a little music around it and hands it to me on a disc. I then upload it and post it on the site.
I love this form of communication, and hope to continue posting these monthly offerings for years. I adore hearing from individual listeners, but prefer to do so one on one and not to have an open forum. This way our communication can be comfortable and unintimidating.

I have advertised a bit to bring listeners to my site. This has been helpful, and I am grateful for every subscriber. I do promise my subscribers that they will only hear from me once a month, as this rhythm seems the most comfortable for me, and I assume it will be the same for my listeners.
-- Margaret Dulaney

>>Margaret Dulaney's previous guest-blog post for Madam Mayo, "5 Reasons to Trust the Muse"
>>Archive of all Madam Mayo's guest-blog posts
>>Q & A with "Heron & Crane" Podcaster Chris Gondek
>>Q & A with "Literary Disco" Podcaster Tod Goldman
>>Q & A with Rice Freeman-Zachery on Creative Podcasting
>>Five FAQ on Podcasting
>>My podcasts!

P.S. Re: advertising. I've spotted the ad for "Listen Well" in the New Yorker. I myself have advertised my "Marfa Mondays" podcast series in Cenizo Journal, an elegantly made and wonderfully readable free magazine distributed throughout the Big Bend region of far West Texas (and that includes Marfa). Advertising is not necessarily that expensive (my business card-sized ad in Cenizo Journal came to about the price of a small pizza party).  As I tell my writer friends who get all squirmy about "self promotion," it's not self-promotion, it's book promotion. In this case, podcast promotion. I explore the ins and outs of podcast promotion in my forthcoming interactive ebook, Podcasting for Writers & Other Creative Entrepreneurs. Want to be notified when that's available? Subscribe to this blog or, better yet, sign up for my free newsletter. It goes out only 4 - 6 times a year. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Bees Dying from Clothianidin?

It may be hard to believe but it's true: much of our food supply depends vitally upon honeybee pollination. So why hasn't the EPA banned clothianidin, a pesticide which has been shown to harm the bees? And this at a time when beekeepers have been reporting widespread colony collapse?

Check out Amy Lou Jenkins' piece in

Write to the EPA here.

And write your congressman, too, while you're at it.

Your senator

Here's what NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, features on her website:
Honey Bees and Other Insect Pollinators provide the Aricultural Industry with an Estimated $15 Billion Annually
July 26, 2012
Washington D.C. – With Colony Collapse Disorder decreasing the U.S. bee population by 30 percent since 2006, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a member of the Senate Agriculture Committee, today called to expedite the review of pesticides that could be inadvertently decimating honey bee populations. Honey bees are vital to the health of agricultural industries in New York as one in three bites of food is reliant on honey bee pollination. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not expected to complete their review until 2018. Senator Gillibrand urged a quicker timeframe, asking that it be completed by the end of next year.  
“Our agriculture industry is vital to the upstate New York’s economy,” Senator Gillibrand said. “Our farmers need honey bees to pollinate our crops and produce. However, certain pesticides may be unintentionally killing off the honey bee population. By expediting this review, we can help save our honey bee population and grow our agricultural economies.” 
The EPA is currently reviewing neonicotinoids, a class of pesticide that could be toxic to honey bees and other pollinators in high or chronic doses. Research has shown that neonicotinoids can cause disruptions in mobility, navigation, feeding, foraging, memory, learning and overall hive activity, all functions that are vital to the survival of the honey bee. This would have the potential to negatively impact almond, bluberry, pumpkin, apple and cherry crops; crops that are crucial to the economy of New York farmers. New York State has already begun to discontinue use of neonicotinoids. After reviewing the pesticides, the EPA would make any warranted regulatory changes to better protect the nation’s honey bees from harmful pesticides.  
In her letter to EPA Administrator Shelia Jackson, Senator Gillibrand wrote, “Protecting honey bees and other pollinators is vital to American agriculture. In fact, one in three bites of food is reliant on honey bee pollination, and threats to pollinators concern the entire food system and could drive up the cost of food in this country. Highlighting the economic importance of pollinators, a recent study by Cornell University found that insect pollination results in a value of more than $15 billion annually.” 

Monday, August 13, 2012

Marfa, Texas: What's Next?

Over at National Public Radio's website there's a brief article, Marfa Texas: An Unlikely Art Oasis in a desert Town" by  Neda Ulaby, and link to listen in to the Morning Edition show about Marfa, TX.

As for my own writing and podcasting project, "Marfa Mondays: Exploring Marfa, Texas & Environs in 24 Podcasts," though I'll be covering the fascinating and vibrant art scene there, I'm writing a book -- as yet untitled-- about the Big Bend region. Along the lines of my travel memoir of Mexico's Baja California peninsula, Miraculous Air, I'm delving into the natural, cultural, economic and political history, interviewing all variety of people, and venturing into both obvious and odd pockets of a mind-blogglingly huge area. Rather than write articles as I go (though I may still do that), I've been posting a podcast per month-- and will do so through the end of 2013.

So far (just click on the link to listen in):

Jan 2012 Welcome & Introduction

Feb 2012 Charles Angell in the Big Bend

Mar 2012 Mary Bones on the Lost Art Colony

April 2012 Avram Dumitrescu: An Artist in Alpine

May 2012 Cynthia McAlister: The Buzz on the Bees

June 2012 Marfa's Moonlight Gemstones

July 2012 We Have Seen the Lights (on the Marfa Lights)

What's next? It involves lithium and Elvis and a wee art gallery so remote you have to hike to get to it. Tune in on the 20th of this month. 

Just a few likely future topics: Apaches, Egyptian architecture, astrophysics, rock art, charismatic megafauna.

Want to be alerted when the next podcast is available? Free newsletter here.

Thursday, August 09, 2012

Elizabeth Gilbert on the Paul Holdengraber Show

A writerly interview with a writer. "The biggest trickiest lesson... learning how to say no to things you do want to do." Oh, yeah. She talks about skipping the MFA. I too skipped it, and with no regrets. That's another blog post.