Author of Metaphysical Odyssey into the Mexican Revolution, etc.

C.M. Mayo < About C.M. Mayo < Newsletter Sign Up < Newsletter Archive <

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Dear Subscribers,

Warmest wishes for the new year and welcome to all, and an especially warm welcome to those of you who are new to this list. There's something in this newsletter for writers, anyone interested in Mexico, Iceland, undercover CIA agents (yeah!) and West Texas.

The past couple of months have been all about podcasting and a bit about making videos. As a writer enchanted by the myriad possibilities of enhancing text in the digital age, this is so exciting! Thanks to Ruben Pacheco, my very capable and patient Mexican computer coach, I have learned how to use Apple's Garage Band, which has a lickety-split podcasting feature. It's amazing how simple it is— I upload the files from my iPhone's dictation app, split and join (getting rid of all the "ums" and clicks and coughs), add music (usually royalty-free clips purchased from www.istock.com , www.uniquetracks.com or www.musicbakery.com) and, voila. For those of you wondering how to podcast, I have an account at www.podomatic.com and from there, the RSS feed goes to iTunes. I also recently learned that you can upload your podcasts as a .mov onto YouTube and Vimeo, so some of my podcasts now appear there as well. I invite you to visit my main podcasting page here.

Recently I've launched two podcasting projects. First, the Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project 2012-2013: Exploring Marfa, Texas & Environs in 24 Podcasts which is a side project of a book I'm writing—as yet untitled— about West Texas. It's been more years than I'd like to count since I wrote Miraculous Air, about Mexico's Baja California peninsula, and I'm thrilled to be back to travel writing again. (Though yes, I'm also still at work on a novel.) I'm not sure yet, but I am thinking about doing the next podcast on the route(s) through this area of the famously lost (for 8 + years) Conquistador, Cabeza de Vaca. I'm scheduled to head into the territory with a guide. Stay tuned. The next Marfa Mondays podcast will be posted on February 20th.

My other podcasting project is an occasional series (which is a fancy way of saying I just do them when I have time and when I feel like it), called Conversations with Other Writers.

Here I have two new podcasts, neither of which has anything to do with Texas, but rather, Asia, Washington DC, Holland (Sara Mansfield Taber), and Iceland (Solveig Eggerz). Sara Mansfield Taber is the author of Born Under an Assumed Name: The Memoir of a Cold War Spy's Daughter, and she talks about growing up in Japan, Taiwan, Holland and Washington DC, not knowing, until she was 15, that her father was an undercover CIA agent. Her father, who ran the radio station that beamed propaganda into North Viet Nam, was one of the last Americans out after the fall of Saigon, and his rescue of hundreds of South Vietnamese collaborators, was both daring and heroic. Sara's previous books, Dusk on the Campo and Bread of Three Rivers, I admire more than I can say. (Visit her website here; listen to the podcast here.)

In the other conversation, with Solveig Eggerz, who is Icelandic, talks about her lushly poetic novel set in Iceland, Seal Woman. She wrote it English, but it is also available in Icelandic and Hebrew. (Check out her website here and the podcast here.)

Stay tuned for more: I have several more fascinating writers lined up for the winter and spring.

For a couple of years now I've been offering occasional podcasts for my writing workshop students and anyone else interested in writing. These are archived on my writing workshop podcasts page. The most recent, posted in December, is "Ten Tips to Help You Get the Most Out of Your Writing Workshop." I'd describe it as everything I wish I'd known about workshops 20 years ago.

Speaking of writing workshops, on February 20 and 21, I am giving a special two day only intensive on "Techniques of Fiction," just following the San Miguel Writers Conference in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. (This year's conference is shaping up to be the best ever, with keynote speakers Margaret Atwood and Elena Poniatowska, among others.
(See my profile on the San Miguel Writers Conference website.) For both beginning and experienced fiction writers, "Techniques of Fiction" focuses on generating new material with exercises addressing specificity, point of view, synesthesia, imagery, image patterning, plot, rhythm, and the use and misuse of dialogue. The goal is that by the end of the workshop, your writing will be of notably higher quality.
>Click here for more information and to register on-line

P.S. If you haven't already, click on the cover to download "C.M. Mayo on Creative Writing: The Best from the Blog," a 50+ page cornucopia of the tips from my writing workshops. It is a fully formatted PDF which you can read on any computer and also open in iBooks. [This download is for subscribers only. Subscribers receive the passwords for free e-books in the next newsletter e-mail. To sign up for the newsletter, which is free, click here. If you want your copy of this book immediately, before my next newsletter goes out, sign up for the Dancing Chiva newsletter here.]

And directly following that, on February 22, 2012, for PEN / SOL Literary Magazine in San Miguel de Allende, I'll be reading from and discussing (with lots of Q & A) my translation, the first into English, of the secret book, Spiritist Manual by Francisco I. Madero, who was a medium and the leader of Mexico's 1910 Revolution and the President of Mexico from 1911-1913. I can never say enough about the fabulous (if a more than a little creepy) painting incorprated into the cover. It's by Kelley Vandiver, an American painter based in San Miguel de Allende.

My last talk for PEN in San Miguel was in January 2011, when I talked about my novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire. You can listen to the whole enchilada as a podcast here.

Now for the blogs. I post on Mondays (and oftentimes more often) at ye olde (circa 2006) "Madam Mayo." Recent posts include: Top 10 Books Read in 2011 and Where the Buffalo Is Marfa? About the Trailer which talks about all the bizarre video clips (an Israeli in plastic bags with a hairless cat, a zombie, a psychotic screaming Welshman, woman in a banana costume, etc) I purchased for USD $5 each on www.fiverr.com. Also, guestblogger Andrew Dayton, co-author with his wife Elahe of the novel The House that War Minister Built, offers 5 Books to Get Your Head Inside Iran.

In late October, I started a new but finite (whew) blog which, I am delighted to say, concluded on December 1st, 2011:
Reading Tolstoy's War & Peace. It's been a new year's resolution for a couple of years now to read this "loose baggy monster," as Henry James called it, so hallelujah, I did it!! Aside from that, since I'm forever lecturing my workshop students to read like writers (rather than as consumers or English students), I thought I'd take my own advice. Comments are most welcome. Really, if you've read or are reading War and Peace, please weigh in.

Finally, if I haven't been busy enough (or maybe it's all the coffee) I've started making what I call mini travel clips. Again, I have to thank Ruben Pacheco my compter coach for helping me navigate the programs, in my case, Apple's iMovie. It's similar to the Apple's Garage Band podcasting program, so I'm making good progress in learning. I'll be using some of these little videosand many more to come for my Marfa Mondays Podcasting Project and the (as yet untitled) travel book. (Now if only I could have filmed my darling 11 year old pug back when when she was the cutest puppy you ever saw.)

Find my books at
www.cmmayo.com/books.html. New in Kindle: Miraculous Air: Journey of a Thousand Miles through Baja California, the Other Mexico; and From Mexico to Miramar Or, Across the Lake of Oblivion.

Thank you for your interest in my work and good wishes to you!

Kind regards,

C.M. Mayo