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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
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.
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 writingas
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
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
Stay tuned for more: I have several more fascinating writers
lined up for the winter and spring.
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,
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.
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
here for more information and to register on-line
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
Books to Get Your Head Inside Iran.
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
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
Mexico to Miramar Or, Across the Lake of Oblivion.
Thank you for
your interest in my work and good wishes to you!