Tuesday, April 27, 2010

BookExpo America & Book Blogger Convention

Two book events in NYC in May that you need to register for now:

BookExpo America - "From the digital revolution to a new business model, the book industry is changing rapidly and BEA is changing, too...We’re offering more than ever before: more content, more events, more titles and authors—and all that means even more buzz.This year’s Autographing Area is scheduled to feature more than 500 author signings during BEA!"

Panel of particular interest:

Leading Latino Authors Are Representative of a Vibrant Market

Tuesday, May 25, 2010
3:15PM - 4:15PM

Location: Room 1B01

Every Latino author on this panel has well over 100,000 in book sales, illustrating that Latino authors do sell. This fast paced session will focus on the careers of these remarkable authors, why Latino authors don’t always receive the attention they deserve and why we will be seeing more best selling Latino authors.

If you can't make it to BEA, then check out:

The Book Blogger Convention

I had a blast at last year's BEA. See you there!

A Leap of Faith

Monday, April 26, 2010

Official 2010 World Cup Anthem: Shakira


Sunday, April 25, 2010

Vulnerability as an Act of Defiance

I had a really great conversation with one of my blog readers who has grown to be quite a good friend this morning. Our conversations are usually long, deep, intellectual but today I felt especially inspired by it and had one of those ah-ha moments.

What's interesting is that in the past few days, I've had several conversations with various people on the subject of vulnerability. This common thread sort of relates to my theory about how wisdom and life are journeys traveled in circles, always leading you home or to your center. This sudden display of commonality across unrelated conversations and people leads me to think that there is more at play than what's on the surface here and perhaps a lesson to be honed from it.

While speaking to my friend this morning about opening yourself up to allow new opportunities and new people to come into your life, we started talking about Dylan Rodriguez, (author of Suspended Apocalypse: White Supremacy, Genocide, and the Filipino Condition, whose book he had mentioned before and who he had gone to watch speak on this issue recently) and how he spoke of emotional vulnerability as an act of political revolution and how only in being vulnerable do you allow yourself to not only connect with others but to connect in a way that is not superficial, which creates true and powerful bonds with people. Vulnerability as an act of courage. Power in taking control of your own relationships and connections with people as opposed to letting history, the norm, and society define what they should be or how they should be so that it becomes a weapon of rebellion against the power structures that attempt to define our lives and oppress us.

What blew me away was that we, society, tend to view being vulnerable in such a negative context. So many of us are so scared to attempt something new,  to open ourselves up to taking risks, for fear of failure or being hurt, or just the plain insecurity of not knowing, not having control of the situation yet we complain about being bored or alone in life and lonely, or stuck in a rut without being willing to travel beyond or above our comfort zones and unhappy because we want to have it all.

In relation to the web and social media, I find it ironic that now more than ever we are 'connected' in ways we have never been before. It's all about being social, we are social beings. Sharing makes us more social, no? All sorts of data is accessible instantly, in real time, allowing us to 'know' people, their lives, facts or ideas, and have access to them in ways we never even imagined ten years ago, never mind before at all but how profound and meaningful are these connections really?
You might read my blog every day but you still only get a nugget of who I am as a whole person although I write about all sorts of elements of my life here and have for years. It's still slightly skewed. There are things and subjects I've never even attempted to expose here and I probably never will. You might read my poetry and get a sense of where my thoughts were at that particular moment or phase of my life. But have I really bared my whole soul to you? You could read my tweets or follow me about town on foursquare or a dozen other places I am making myself accessible online but...and here's the big but...does that mean you truly know me? That our bond is solid? How much of myself have I truly offered to you or given? How big is the risk I have taken? How much do we cushion ourselves lest we fall or fail?

As artists: writers, painters, musicians, photographers, chefs, etc., we create, we dig down deep and draw from our wells of inspiration, experiences, and even random thoughts, and we create, and then we share it with the whole world. It is both an intimate act and one of public exposure. We are both open and baring it all while yet lacking the intimacy to create a real bonding relationship.

Those take work and like the saying goes you have to ready, willing, and able. Willing to initiate it, willing to see it through, come what may. You have to refuse to let fear be used against you. You have to be strong in  your own vulnerability, something usually viewed as weak. You have to find courage in your own humanity, your own frailty, your own human needs to bond, love, connect, risk, grow, be intimate...be vulnerable.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Things of Note

Keeping it fresh: The iPad, Transmedia, and the Future of Publishers

Nerve: Survey: Eight Percent Of Librarians Have Had Sex In An Elevator.

New York Society Library says George Washington owes $300,000 in late fees on overdue books.

Tea x Time List: The 50 best author vs. author put-downs of all time... "An enthusiasm for Poe is the mark of a decidedly primitive stage of reflection." Ouch!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Every Single Moment, Every Day

Lately I've been so preoccupied that I am even preoccupied with being preoccupied. Stress and over-thinking has made me into a fretting insomniac. And so, I've found myself going back to Buddhist philosophy and trying to be fully aware of each moment and making my mind be still.

From “The Wisdom of No Escape” by Pema Chodron:

Each moment is just what it is. It might be the only moment of our life...We could get depressed about it, or we could finally appreciate it and delight in the preciousness of every single moment of our life...The Navajo teach their children that every morning when the sun comes up, it's a brand-new sun. It's born each morning, it lives for the duration of one day, and in the evening it passes on, never to return again...“The sun has only one day. You must live this day in a good way, so that the sun won’t have wasted precious time.”

Every day is a new day. The past has elapsed. Tomorrow has not yet come. All that matters is now. Being completely aware of each moment and everything about that moment - in the now - eases the mind. The sun is reborn daily but so are we. Begin again.

Photo credit:  Buddha Hand by Sakis Papadopoulos

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Caribbean Food Made Easy

According Thewrap.com, "Scripps Networks Interactive will launch the Cooking Channel on May 31, with a lineup of younger-skewing shows than sibling Food Network."

I checked out the list and found these BBC imports:

Caribbean Food Made Easy
Premieres: August

Levi Roots travels around the United Kingdom and the Caribbean revealing how delicious Caribbean food can be created at home with easy-to-prepare, mouth-watering recipes using fresh, healthy and readily-available ingredients.

Indian Food Made Easy
Premieres: May 31
Chef and food writer Anjum Anand brings a lighter, fresher approach to classic Indian dishes, making simple, mouth-watering meals. Anjum helps friends and viewers overcome their fears of planning, preparing and making Indian food by guiding them through shopping and dispelling the myths around Indian cuisine.

I am disappointed however by lack of Hispanic cuisine represented. The Caribbean show seems to be more Jamaican/West Indies-type dishes.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Book: The Eastern Stars by Mark Kurlansky

The Eastern Stars: How Baseball Changed the Dominican Town of San Pedro de Macoris by Mark Kurlansky

The intriguing, inspiring history of one small, impoverished area in the Dominican Republic that has produced a staggering number of Major League Baseball talent, from an award-winning, bestselling author.

In the town of San Pedro in the Dominican Republic, baseball is not just a way of life. It's the way of life. By the year 2008, seventy-nine boys and men from San Pedro have gone on to play in the Major Leagues-that means one in six Dominican Republicans who have played in the Majors have come from one tiny, impoverished region. Manny Alexander, Sammy Sosa, Tony Fernandez, and legions of other San Pedro players who came up in the sugar mill teams flocked to the United States, looking for opportunity, wealth, and a better life.

Because of the sugar industry, and the influxes of migrant workers from across the Caribbean to work in the cane fields and factories, San Pedro is one of the most ethnically diverse areas of the Dominican Republic. A multitude of languages are spoken there, and a variety of skin colors populate the community; but the one constant is sugar and baseball. The history of players from San Pedro is also a chronicle of racism in baseball, changing social mores in sports and in the Dominican Republic, and the personal stories of the many men who sought freedom from poverty through playing ball. The story of baseball in San Pedro is also that of the Caribbean in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries and on a broader level opens a window into our country's history.

As with Kurlansky's Cod and Salt, this small story, rich with anecdote and detail, becomes much larger than ever imagined. Kurlansky reveals two countries' love affair with a sport and the remarkable journey of San Pedro and its baseball players. In his distinctive style, he follows common threads and discovers wider meanings about place, identity, and, above all, baseball.

From Mark's 2007 Parade Magazine article,"Where Champions Begin"

In San Pedro de Macorís, American baseball scouts are wandering the sandlots and parks, looking for the next superstar. Finding a champion happens often in this provincial sugar port in the southeastern Dominican Republic. Here, in one of the poorest nations in the Western Hemisphere, baseball is a boy’s best hope—often his only hope.

Major League Baseball has developed a gargantuan hunger for Dominican baseball players. This year alone, at least 171 young Dominicans have been signed by pro teams. About a third of these prospects came from San Pedro de Macorís.

What set off this frenzy? For one thing, the 78 major league players San Pedro has produced since the ’50s. Among the current stars from San Pedro are Sammy Sosa, the outfielder and designated hitter for the Texas Rangers, who hit his 600th career home run in June; Alfonso Soriano, the Chicago Cubs outfielder who last year had 46 home runs and 41 stolen bases with the Washington Nationals; and New York Yankees second baseman Robinson Cano.

All of this has led people to ask, “What is in the water there?” Probably a lot of things, but none of them help with baseball.

As soon as I entered the town this spring, passing steel sculptures of ballplayers, it became apparent that San Pedro had baseball on the mind. On every sandlot and in every open space, boys were playing baseball.

Only the main streets are paved, and there still are a few horse-drawn carts on streets lined with one-story concrete buildings painted all the colors of Popsicles. Were it not for baseball, San Pedro might be a forgotten town, a relic of the faded sugar industry.

Some of the early San Pedro major leaguers came from the cane fields and started playing with balls made from sugar syrup. Boys still begin playing at the age of 5, improvising balls from wet, tightly rolled socks—which work well, though the ball becomes oblong with use.

“It’s a lot different now,” says Pedro González, who signed in 1958 with the Yankees, one of the first Macorisanos, as they call themselves, to make it to the majors. González had little organized training at the time he was signed. To him and other old-time San Pedro players, the big difference today is that their town is full of youth leagues and corporate-sponsored programs.

Rogelio Candalario, a left-handed San Pedro pitcher who never got beyond Class AA ball because of a broken arm, coaches a leading local youth program that has had six players signed by major league teams in its three years in existence.

When I ask who the hottest new kid is, Candalario shakes his head and looks down at his 18-man roster. He thinks most of his players are serious major league prospects. His best starting pitcher, 16-year-old Jersey Santana, already throws a fastball up to 89 m.p.h.

But for Arturo D’Oleo, coordinator of this program, there’s no doubt. “Absolutely, no question about it, the best prospect here is Esdra Abreu,” he says.

Abreu is a 15-year-old outfielder playing on a team for 16- to 18-year-olds. He is over 6 feet tall, with long arms and legs, and he is respected for his work ethic and seriousness. Says former major league scout Herman Martínez, who has been working with Abreu since he was 7 years old: “Last year he was the top young player in the country. He comes from a good family—well-educated people. And his throwing arm has power.”

Esdra’s older brother, Abner, 17, a shortstop, already has signed with the Cleveland Indians for $350,000. (A signing bonus like $60,000 may be more common, but there is considerable excitement over him.) This summer, the Indians organization is giving Abner English lessons and teaching him about American food. In contrast, Pedro González told me that when the Yankees first brought him to America, he ate only ham and eggs, or chicken with French fries, because they were the only dishes he knew how to order.

The Abreus are from the all-too-rare Dominican middle class, struggling to stay above poverty. Their father, Enrique, is a construction worker who tries to find regular employment. Their mother, Senovia, is a school principal.

The Abreus live in Barrio Buenos Aires, one of the many neighborhoods where dirt roads lined with little turquoise wooden houses crisscross fields on the edge of town. Their house has a corrugated tin roof—and a steel gate with the Indians logo hand-painted on it. Inside, their little living room is cooled by wall-mounted fans—when the barrio has electricity. What’s most striking are the pictures of Abner and Esdra in caps and gowns, and an academic award earned by Abner.

Abner had finished high school and was studying at the local college when Cleveland made its offer, and he dropped out. His mother says that she was sorry he did, but she smiles and adds: “It is his big dream.” Enrique says, “We thought our children would be doctors or engineers, but they always wanted baseball.”

There is a third son, Gabriel, who is an 11-year-old fan of Dominican-born Albert Pujols, star first baseman for the World Series champs, the St. Louis Cardinals. Gabriel is a little chunkier than his brothers, which could be an advantage. Another advantage: He already has learned English in anticipation of his major league career.

But for the three Abreus and for all the aspiring young ballplayers of San Pedro, it is far easier to be signed than to make the major leagues. Some baseball officials say that fewer than one of every 10 players signed ever plays in a big league game.

Esdra says, “I am not worried about America or the major leagues. I’m ready.” But he still has a long way to go. Though scouts from several teams, including Cleveland, already have spoken to him, Esdra does not turn 16 until next March, and he cannot be signed until the second half of 2008.

Even Abner has a way to go before becoming a pro. He will spend the next few months in the Dominican Summer League, where major league franchises have their recruits play private games in guarded complexes. If he does well, he might get to try out in spring training.

It was hard for me not to think that these kids were trading in their education for a very slim shot at the major leagues. But in San Pedro, where they know their baseball, there is a lot of confidence that we will be hearing from an Abreu or two—Abner, Esdra or Gabriel—in a few years.
Via www.markkurlansky.com

Monday, April 19, 2010

Rise Up

My #MusicMonday:

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Writers and their Day Jobs

Don't feel bad if you feel like writing is just your side hustle...

"William Faulkner is one of the most iconic writers of the 20th century. He won the Nobel Prize for literature. And was a mailman." -- Latimes.com/jacketcopy

Via www.laphamsquarterly.org

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Things of Note

The Forbes Fictional 15: The Top 15 Richest Fictional Characters.

J.K. Rowling’s Single Mother Manifesto.

NYC now has a live MTA bus tracker! It’s called NYCT Bus Time.

Uh oh!  Speedy scanner re-writes book on publishing technology

The Daily Beast on Facebook Ogling

If you know any great poets in the blogosphere, feel free to nominate them here.

Cool: Yoko Ono, lover of rare books and antiquarian book fairs

Gorgeous short film created as part of the Phillips Cinema Parallel Lines Project, a global campaign for their new line of TVs:

El Secreto de Mateo by Greg Fay

Friday, April 16, 2010

Puerto Rico's “Festival of the Word”


The “Festival de la Palabra” (Festival of the Word) will transform Puerto Rico into the Caribbean’s literary and cultural focal point during the first week of May, according to the director of the event, writer Mayra Santos-Febres.

The author of “Nuestra Señora de la Noche” said that the Ballajá Quarter of Old San Juan will host a festival designed to foster reading in Puerto Rico and which is expected to attract more than 50,000 visitors.

Attending the event in the Puerto Rican capital between May 4-9 will be writers of the caliber of Alfredo Bryce Echenique, Jorge Volpi, Enrique Vilá Matas, Gioconda Belli, Santiago Roncagliolo, Fernando Iwasaki, Rosa Montero, and Nuyorican poet Willie Perdomo.

Santos-Febres emphasized that the festival also will bring about a dialogue among the literatures and cultures of the Caribbean, Latin America in general, Europe and the Hispanic community in the United States.

She explained that during the Festival of the Word, some of the most outstanding writers will visit schools and universities all over the Caribbean island. Via Americareadsspanish.org
José Saramago will open the event with a live teleconference.

New book: Island Beneath The Sea by Isabel Allende

Last year, I wrote about Allende's new book, La Isla Bajo El Mar and now it is available in English: Island Beneath the Sea: A Novel by Isabel Allende.
I can't wait to read it.

For an excerpt of this book, click here.
From Booklist

*Starred Review*

Allende, an entrancing and astute storyteller cherished the world over, returns to historical fiction to portray another resilient woman whose life embodies the complex forces at work in the bloody forging of the New World. Zarité, called Tété, is born into slavery in the colony of Saint-Domingue, where enslaved Africans are worked to death by the thousands, and European men prey on women of color.  So it is with Tété and her “master,” the deeply conflicted plantation owner Toulouse Valmorain, who relies on her for everything from coerced sex to caring for his demented first wife, his legitimate son, and their off-the-record daughter.

When the slave uprising that gives birth to the free black republic of Haiti erupts, Toulouse, Tété, and the children flee to Cuba, then to New Orleans. In a many-faceted plot, Allende animates irresistible characters authentic in their emotional turmoil and pragmatic adaptability. She also captures the racial, sexual, and entrepreneurial dynamics of each society in sensuous detail while masterfully dramatizing the psychic wounds of slavery.

Sexually explicit, Allende is grace incarnate in her evocations of the spiritual energy that still sustains the beleaguered people of Haiti and New Orleans. Demand will be high for this transporting, remarkably topical novel of men and women of courage risking all for liberty. --Donna Seaman

Thursday, April 15, 2010

New Book: Captive: 2,147 Days of Terror in the Colombian Jungle by Clara Rojas

Captive: 2,147 Days of Terror in the Colombian Jungle by Clara Rojas 

Clara Rojas was the campaign manager for the Colombian presidential candidate Ingrid Betancourt when they were both kidnapped in 2002 by the FARC. Captive reveals the details of her six years of captivity, the birth and miraculous survival of her infant son in the jungle, and, finally, her emotional liberation and reunion with her child after he was taken from her eight months after his birth. Above all, Captive reveals the power of one woman's faith in God and how much a mother will endure to be reunited with her child.

New York City in 3D Google Earth

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Ciudad y Suburbia: The Changing Nature of Latino Immigration

Sunday • April 18 • 2:00 PM
Ciudad y Suburbia: The Changing Nature of Latino Immigration
The Museum of the City of New York
1220 Fifth Avenue / 104th Street

Latin American and Caribbean immigration to New York has dramatically changed the essence of New York and the nation. In the past, Latino immigration meant establishing roots in cities, but more recent immigrants sojourn in cities for a short time or bypass them completely by moving to the suburbs.

Join Sherrie Baver, Associate Professor, Department of Political Science and Latin American and Caribbean Studies Program, CCNY and The Graduate Center – CUNY, as she examines the impact of Latino immigration.

Sponsored by the New York Council for the Humanities.
Presented in conjunction with Immigrant History Week.

FREE with Museum admission!

For more information, please call 917.492.3395.

April=Poetry: Nigger-Reecan Blues by Willie Perdomo

Nigger-Reecan Blues
Willie Perdomo (for Piri Thomas)

Hey, Willie. What are you, man?
No, silly. You know what I mean: What are you?
I am you. You are me. We the same. Can't you feel our veins drinking the
same blood?
-But who said you was a Porta Reecan?
-Tu eres Puerto Riqueno, brother.
-Maybe Indian like Gandhi Indian.
-I thought you was a Black man.
-Is one of your parents white?
-You sure you ain't a mix of something like
-Portuguese and Chinese?
-Naaaahhh. . .You ain't no Porta Reecan.
-I keep telling you: The boy is a Black man with an accent.
If you look closely you will see that your spirits are standing right next to
our songs. You soy Boricua! You soy Africano! I ain't lyin'. Pero mi pelo es
kinky y kurly y mi skin no es negra pero it can pass. ..
-Hey, yo. I don't care what you say - you Black.
I ain't Black! Everytime I go downtown la madam blankeeta de madesson
avenue sees that I'm standing right next to her and she holds her purse just
a bit tighter. I can't even catch a taxi late at night and the newspapers say
that if I'm not in front of a gun, chances are that I'll be behind one. I wonder
why. . .
-Cuz you Black, nigger.
I ain't Black, man. I had a conversation with my professor. Went like this:
-Where are you from, Willie?
-I'm from Harlem.
-Ohh! Are you Black?
-No, but-
-Do you play much basketball?
Te lo estoy diciendo, brother. Ese hombre es un moreno!
Mira yo no soy moreno! I just come out of Jerry's Den and the
spray off my new shape-up sails around the corner, up to the Harlem
River and off to New Jersey. I'm lookin' slim and I'm lookin' trim
and when my homeboy Davi saw me, he said: "Como, Papo. Te
parece como
un moreno, brother. Word up, bro. You look like a stone black
-I told you - you was Black.
Damn! I ain't even Black and here I am sufferin' from the young
Black man's plight/the old whtie man's burden/and I ain't even
Black, man/a Black man/I am not/Boricua I am/ain't never really
was/Black/like me. . .
-Leave that boy alone. He got the Nigger-Reecan Blues
I'm a Spic!
I'm a Nigger!
Spic! Spic! No different than a Nigger!
Neglected, rejected, oppressed and depressed
From banana boats to tenements
Street gangs to regiments. . .
Spic! Spic! I ain't nooooo different than a Nigger.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Gringo Nightmare: A Young American Framed for Murder in Nicaragua

New Book: Gringo Nightmare: A Young American Framed for Murder in Nicaragua by Eric Volz

In the spirit of Midnight Express and Not Without My Daughter comes the harrowing true story of an American held in a Nicaraguan prison for a murder he didn’t commit.
Eric Volz was in his late twenties in 2005 when he moved from California to Nicaragua. He and a friend cofounded a bilingual magazine, El Puente, and it proved more successful than they ever expected. Then Volz met Doris Jiménez, an incomparable beauty from a small Nicaraguan beach town, and they began a passionate and meaningful relationship. Though the relationship ended amicably less than a year later and Volz moved his business to the capital city of Managua, a close bond between the two endured.

Nothing prepared him for the phone call he received on November 21, 2006, when he learned that Doris had been found dead---murdered---in her seaside clothing boutique. He rushed from Managua to be with her friends and family, and before he knew it, he found himself accused of her murder, arrested, and imprisoned.

Decried in the press and vilified by his onetime friends, Volz suffered horrific conditions, illness, deadly inmates, an angry lynch mob, sadistic guards, and the merciless treatment of government officials. It was only through his dogged persistence, the tireless support of his friends and family, and the assistance of a former intelligence operative that Eric was released, in December 2007, after more than a year in prison.

A story that made national and international headlines, this is the first and only book to tell Eric’s absorbing, moving account in his own words. Visit the companion Exhibit Hall at www.GringoNightmare.com for additional photos, audio clips, video, case files, and more.

ERIC VOLZ was born in Northern California. He is a former magazine publisher and investment consultant, who holds a degree in Latin American Studies from the University of California, San Diego.

In November 2006, while living in Nicaragua, he was falsely accused and wrongfully convicted for the rape and murder of his ex-girlfriend Doris Jiménez, and consequently sentenced to a 30-year prison term. After spending over a year in the Nicaraguan Prison system, an appeals court overturned the conviction and Volz was released in December of 2007.

Since his release, Volz filed a petition in the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights of the Organization of American States, seeking a declaration of his innocence and protection under the American Convention on Human Rights from further persecution by the Government of Nicaragua. Although he is no longer behind bars, his case continues to test the role and authority of a supra-national tribunal with major potential to engage international policy discussions and subsequent reform.

He has been a guest on and featured in The Today Show, CNN, NBC News, PBS, Telemundo and Univision, New York Times, Washington Post, WSJ, People and NPR.

Friday, April 09, 2010

New Book: Sugar: A Bittersweet History by Elizabeth Abbott

Sugar : A Bittersweet History by Elizabeth Abbot

Sugar: A Bittersweet History offers a perceptive and provocative investigation of a commodity that most of us savour every day yet know little about. Impressively researched and commandingly written, this thoroughly engaging book follows the history of sugar to the present day. It is a revealing look at how sugar changed the nature of meals, fuelled the Industrial Revolution, generated a brutal new form of slavery, and jumpstarted the fast-food revolution.

Thursday, April 08, 2010

Over 500 Blogs Nominated For Inaugural Author Blog Awards

This press release makes me very happy to see such a rich and thriving books/author blogosphere:


Since March 8th over 15,000 people have visited to nominate more than five hundred blogs and microblogs written by authors. The resulting shortlist has been created from the web feeds which received the most nominations, with the last few weeks seeing tech-savvy authors mobilising their fans and followers across many social networks.

The result is a diverse mix of authors blogging from very different perspectives. It includes superstar authors such as Neil Gaiman, newcomers to the publishing world such as Gavin James Bower, and a number of yet-to-be-published bloggers such as Jane Alexander. Please see the full shortlist below.

The awards now enter the voting phase where the public are invited to take a look at the shortlisted blogs and vote for their favourite. The Author Blog Awards aim to recognise and highlight the writers who use their blogs to connect with readers in the most imaginative, engaging and inspiring ways. Winners will be selected from the shortlist and announced at the London Book Fair official Tweetup on 21st April.

The Author Blog Awards are organised by CompletelyNovel.com and Jon Slack, in partnership with publishers including The Random House Group, Simon & Schuster UK, Quartet Books, Penguin, Bloomsbury, Allison & Busby, Faber & Faber, Mills & Boon and Headline.

These publishers are offering hundreds of books as prizes for the people voting for a blog on the shortlist. More information about the Awards and prizes can be found on the Author Blog Awards website at http://www.authorblogawards.com.

The shortlist:

Jenn Ashworth


I'm a full-time writer and freelance literature development worker. That means I write books, teach creative writing and blogging workshops, organise literature events and projects and edit manuscripts.

Neil Gaiman


The tweetings of Neil Gaiman, author of 'The Graveyard Book' and many more.

Jackie Morris


The blog follows the progress of my books as I attempt to write, paint and bring up two children, balancing life and work in a strange pattern where I often find that life mirrors art mirrors life. Centred around my studio the blog wanders off onto beaches, cliffs seeking inspiration.

Barry Hutchison


Thoughts on writing, tips & advice, and general rambling nonsense from children's horror author, Barry Hutchison. Follow his journey from unpublished hopeful, through the publication of his first series, INVISIBLE FIENDS, and beyond...

Tim Atkinson


A blog about a dad in a mum's world, Bringing up Charlie charts the day-to-day life of stay-at-home dad and author Tim Atkinson, as his wife returns to work - leaving him holding the baby and changing the nappies!

Michael Faulkner


This is the blog of the books The Blue Cabin and Still On The Sound: snapshots of life on the otherwise uninhabited island of Islandmore, Strangford Lough, Northern Ireland..

Alice Griffin


Alice Griffin is a writer living on a boat in England. She also describes herself as a wife, mother, traveller, daydreamer and sometime crafty girl; hopefully her blog reflects all. Author of ~ Tales from a Travelling Mum ~ Alice's second travel book will be published in November 2010.

Emily Benet


I work in my Mum's chandelier shop where customers come in for therapy and the occasional light bulb. My blog has been published as a book 'Shop Girl Diaries' and is coming shortly as a film...

Carleen Brice


Your official invitation into the african american section of the bookstore! A sometimes serious, sometimes light-hearted plea for everybody to give a black writer a try.

Cleolinda Jones


The wiki and journal of Cleolilnda Jones, author of 'Movies in Fifteen Minutes'.

Lucy Coats


Slightly eccentric hints and tips on writing, latest news on my books and where I'll be talking about them, as well as stuff that's going on in the wider children's book world.

Suzanne Arruda


This blog is about the fictional character, Jade del Cameron (www.suzannearruda.com), and the historical time period in which she lives.

Caroline Smailes


In September 2005, two weeks before I was due to start a PhD in Linguistics, I watched an interview on Richard & Judy where they referred to someone as a 'nearly woman'. I can't remember who that person was, but it was the moment when everything in my life started to jigsaw into place...

Jane Alexander


Diary of a Desperate Exmoor Woman. Juggling work, life, motherhood and marriage - and frequently dropping the balls.

Nicola Morgan


Nicola morgan is proud to be the first google result for "crabbit old bat" and offers crabbitly honest expertise to writers with talent and a burning need to be published.

Fiona Robyn


My life as a gardener of words. Visit Planting Words to read about cats, cake, the things I learn, Buddhism, other people's poems, the things I get wrong, and occasionally I even remember to write about being a writer.

Gavin James Bower


I'm a writer, a Northerner and, for now at least, a Londoner. My first novel, Dazed & Aroused, was published in 2009 and I've recently finished my second, Made in Britain.

Liz Fielding


Blog of an award-winning romance author.

Paulo Coelho


The Portugese and English tweets of the mighty Paulo Coelho, author of 'The Alchemist' and many more.

Marcus Chown


Writer. Latest books: We Need to Talk About Kelvin, Afterglow of Creation & Felicity Frobisher and the Three-Headed Aldebaran Dust Devil.

Richard Jay Parker


Dark thriller STOP ME by Richard Jay Parker just published by Allison and Busby.

Christopher Fowler


Blog of a murder mystery writer.

Lynn Flewelling


Lynn Flewelling Muses on Writing, Living, and Shameless Self Promotion.

Sam Starbuck


My journal is informally known as Sam's Cafe and is read by people of many religions, political beliefs, and ethnic backgrounds. Come in, sit down, and have a pastry. I made them myself.

Linda Jones


This blog was set up in 2006 as a resource for parents of multiple birth children.But it has moved on to include journalism, fiction, media requests and advice.

Nikesh Shukla


Nikesh Shukla/Yam Boy is an author, film-maker and poet caught between the cityscapes of Bombay and the low-swinging chariots of London.

Michell Plested


Little is known about the origins of Michell as they are shrouded (or at least covered with a moth-eaten towel) by the mists of time. What is known is largely obscure and often contradictory. Oh and he sometimes speaks about himself in the third person.

Chris Brogan


Twitter account of the president of New Marketing Labs and social media extraordinaire.

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Mining Data from Readers

Music blogger MusicMachinery recently wrote an interesting post on insights he would like to see captured by the data mining software on certain ereaders. His list was awesome:
  • Most Abandoned - the books and/or authors that are most frequently left unfinished.  What book is the most abandoned book of all time? (My money is on ‘A Brief History of Time’) A related metric – for any particular book where is it most frequently abandoned?  (I’ve heard of dozens of people who never got past ‘The Council of Elrond’ chapter in LOTR).
  • Pageturner – the top books ordered by average number of words read per reading session.  Does the average Harry Potter fan read more of the book in one sitting than the average Twilight fan?
  • Burning the midnight oil – books that keep people up late at night.
  • Read Speed – which books/authors/genres have the lowest word-per-minute average reading rate?   Do readers of Glenn Beck read faster or slower than readers of Jon Stewart?
  • Most Re-read – which books are read over and over again?  A related metric – which are the most re-read passages?  Is it when Frodo claims the ring,  or when Bella almost gets hit by a car?
  • Mystery cheats – which books have their last chapter read before other chapters.
  • Valuable reference – which books are not read in order, but are visited very frequently? (I’ve not read my Python in a nutshell book from cover to cover, but I visit it almost every day).
  • Biggest Slogs – the books that take the longest to read.
  • Back to the start – Books that are most frequently re-read immediately after they are finished.
  • Page shufflers – books that most often send their readers to the glossary, dictionary, map or the elaborate family tree.  (xkcd offers some insights)
  • Trophy Books – books that are most frequently purchased, but never actually read.
  • Dishonest rater - books that most frequently rated highly by readers who never actually finished reading the book
  • Most efficient language – the average time to read books by language.  Do native Italians read ‘Il nome della rosa faster than native English speakers can read ‘The name of the rose‘?
  • Most attempts – which books are restarted most frequently?  (It took me 4 attempts to get through Cryptonomicon, but when I did I really enjoyed it).
  • A turn for the worse – which books are most frequently abandoned in the last third of the book?  These are the books that go bad.
  • Never at night – books that are read less in the dark than others.
  • Entertainment value – the books with the lowest overall cost per hour of reading (including all re-reads)

Read the full post here: http://musicmachinery.com

Author Heidi Durrow Honors Nella Larsen with a Gravestone

Via My Nella Larsen: Remembering Her

Monday, April 05, 2010

Reading with Las Comadres

Did you know that Las Comadres National Latino Book Club has monthly live teleconferences?

Find out more here: Reading with Las Comadres LIVE Teleconference Series

Marcantonio & Muñoz: Puerto Rican Migration & Transnational Politics

Thursday, April 15th, 6:00 p.m.
Centro Library East Building, 3rd floor,

Hunter College (68th Street / Lexington Avenue)

Puerto Rican migration contributed to the emergence of transnational communities. In East Harlem it was also marked by alliances with progressives such as Italian American Congressman Vito Marcantonio and opposition from Puerto Rican Governor Muñoz Marín. Presenter: Edgardo Meléndez.


Call (212) 772-5714 to R.S.V.P.

Vampire Anthropology

If you like vampires you might be interested in reading Vampire Forensics: Uncovering the Origins of an Enduring Legend by Mark Collins Jenkins

Mark Jenkins’s engrossing history draws on the latest science, anthropological and archaeological research to explore the origins of vampire stories, providing gripping historic and folkloric context for the concept of immortal beings who defy death by feeding on the lifeblood of others.

From the earliest whispers of eternal evil in ancient Mesopotamia, Greece, and Rome, vampire tales flourished through the centuries and around the globe, fueled by superstition, sexual mystery, fear of disease and death, and the nagging anxiety that demons lurk everywhere.

In Vampire Forensics, Mark Jenkins probes vampire legend to tease out the historical truths enshrined in the tales of terror: shards of Persian pottery depicting blood-sucking demons; the amazing recent discovery by National Geographic archaeologist Matteo Borrini of a 16th-century Venetian grave of a plague victim and suspected vampire; and the Transylvanian castle of "Vlad the Impaler," whose bloodthirsty cruelty remains unsurpassed.

Jenkins navigates centuries of lore and legend, adding new chapters to the chronicle and weaving an irresistibly seductive blend of superstition, psychology, and science sure to engross everyone from Anne Rice’s countless readers to serious students of archaeology and mythology.

Also of note:

 Stephenie Meyer, author of the vampire novels, announced last week that she will make her next novel, The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner, available online for free after its release. Fans can read the book, based on a character in Eclipse, on BreeTanner.com starting at noon on June 7 until July 5.

The Fall by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan, part two of The Strain Trilogy comes out in September.

Sunday, April 04, 2010

Call for Latino/a Book Review Vlogs

I had a bright idea today. (It happens every so often ; )) I'd love to have more Latino/a book reviews here. Unfortunately, I am only one person and a big part of what I do entails working on book related campaigns so what ends up happening is that I can't dedicate my time here to writing the rich sort of book reviews and analysis I love to see/read/write myself. So I've decided to open up the space and keep the focus on books.

If you have or would like to submit any Latino/a lit book review videos you have created, I would like to give them a home here and share them with my readers. I look forward to your links and comments in my inbox.

Here's a nice one I found on youtube that's had over 17k views that gives you an idea of what I'm looking for!

* If you are an author, publicist, etc., and would like to inform my readers of your new book trailer, please feel to send me a line as well.

Disclosure notice: I work for the company that published this book and yes, I know Robin is not Latina. However, I chose this video based on view count, overall quality, and well, I like the book. I did search for Latino/a lit reviews and failed to find any promising ones, which is a signifier to me that we need to get the ball rolling on this. It's in your court now.

The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire - Trailer for Paperback Edition

Trailer for the novel THE LAST PRINCE OF THE MEXICAN EMPIRE, by C.M. Mayo. Selected as one of the best books of 2009 by Library Journal. A sweeping historical novel based on the true story during the short, tragic, at times surreal reign of Emperor Maximilian and his court


Happy Birthday!

To both my sister and my favorite poet Maya Angelou who share a birthday today:

Still I Rise
by Maya Angelou

You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I'll rise.

Does my sassiness upset you?
Why are you beset with gloom?
'Cause I walk like I've got oil wells
Pumping in my living room.

Just like moons and like suns,
With the certainty of tides,
Just like hopes springing high,
Still I'll rise.

Did you want to see me broken?
Bowed head and lowered eyes?
Shoulders falling down like teardrops,
Weakened by my soulful cries?

Does my haughtiness offend you?
Don't you take it awful hard
'Cause I laugh like I've got gold mines
Diggin' in my own backyard.

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I'll rise.

Does my sexiness upset you?
Does it come as a surprise
That I dance like I've got diamonds
At the meeting of my thighs?

Out of the huts of history's shame
I rise
Up from a past that's rooted in pain
I rise
I'm a black ocean, leaping and wide,
Welling and swelling I bear in the tide.

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that's wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.

Friday, April 02, 2010

Screened Calls and Slow Portraits

Screened Calls and Slow Portraits: Artist Talk.
Saturday, April 10th, 3pm,
MediaNoche Gallery, 1355 Park Avenue, Corner Store at East 102 St.

Using Skype as a medium for generating temporally destructive portraits and self-portraits, Hallier redefines portraiture for the digital age. The show documents and comments on 80 long-distance conversations Hallier conducted online with 7 friends and family members throughout the past year.

More about Screened Calls and Slow Portraits >>

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Poetry Everywhere in April

In celebration of National Poetry Month in April, Poetry Everywhere with Garrison Keillor (pbs.org/poetry) returns to public television and the Web with new poems and unique voices. The project offers 32 short poetry films during unexpected moments in the public television broadcast schedule. Through television and the Internet, viewers will have an exclusive, front-row seat at the world's greatest poetry festival.

Poetry Everywhere offers something for everyone. Robert Frost reads his classic, Stopping By Woods on a Snowy Evening in an archival clip; former U.S. poet laureate Billy Collins reads The Lanyard, a poem marked by his characteristic mix of poignancy and humor; Mary Louise-Parker, Tony Kushner, and Wynton Marsalis share their favorite poems; an Emily Dickinson poem is rendered in an animation.

There are poems by Pulitzer Prize-winner Yusef Koumanyaka, National Book Award-winner Adrienne Rich, former U.S. Poet Laureate Stanley Kunitz, the great 13th-century Persian poet Rumi, Nobel Prize-winner W.B. Yeats, and many more, including a number of contemporary poets filmed at The Geraldine R. Dodge Poetry Festival, North America's largest poetry festival.

Building on Poetry Everywhere's existing collection of 24 short poetry films, the project's third year adds eight new poets reading their own works including: Marilyn Chin, The Floral Apron; Toi Derricotte, Blackbottom; Martín Espada, Who Burns for the Perfection of Paper; Seamus Heaney, Blackberry Picking; Maxine Kumin, After Love; W.S. Merwin, Yesterday; C.D. Wright, Lake Echo, Dear; and Daisy Zamora Mother's Day. The project aims to reach a wide range of new audiences with the power of great poetry, and to increase poetry's presence on television and the Web.

New to the project this season is the Poetry Everywhere iPhone App. The App continues the project's ongoing mission of bringing poetry to people through new channels and provides poetry lovers and audiences with a new way of experiencing great poems.

The Poetry Everywhere channel on You Tube for embeddable poems from the project: www.youtube.com

Thanks so much to those who voted

I won!

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