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Dear Subscribers,

Welcome to all, and especially warm welcome to those of you who are new to this list.


This month I'm announcing a long-awaited publication, my translation of Francisco I. Madero's secret book of 1911, the Spiritist Manual. It is now available on Kindle and will soon be available in other editions.

Francisco I. Madero was the leader of Mexico's 1910 revolution and President of Mexico from 1911-1913.

Apart from its extraordinary content, and the fact that Madero's Spiritist Manual is one of the earliest Spanish language manifestos of this new religion, what stands out about this work is that it was prepared precisely during the period when Madero's political career was rocketing to its apex: he was campaigning throughout the country for the Mexican Presidency, then fighting the Mexican Revolution both in Mexico and, variously, from exile in Texas and New Orleans; and then, running again for the presidency which, later in 1911, he was to win.

As Mexican historians Enrique Krauze, Yolia Tortolero, Alejandro Rosas and Manuel Guerra, among others, have emphasized, Madero's Spiritism undergirded his political philosophy and actions as candidate for the presidency, as leader of the Revolution, and as President, many of which were incomprehensible to and/or misinterpreted by both his supporters and his adversaries. For this reason, the Spiritist Manual is a fundamentally important work for anyone who would study Madero and the Mexican Revolution.

It is also a vital work in the history of both Spiritism itself and modern gnostic Christianity. Whatever one's personal beliefs may be, it would be intellectually naïve to dismiss Madero's Spiritism as mere superstition, as most people who first hear of it and indeed, most of his biographers, do. Spiritism emerged in a context of the mid- to late 19th century's far-reaching scientific experientation; moreover, it has its place alongside other religions that emerged in the same century, among them,
Christian Science, Mormonism, Spiritualism, and Theosophy.

>>Read the Q & A here.


November 10, 2011 San Miguel de Allende
Author's Sala Reading: C.M. Mayo (and Sandy Baum)

5- 7: 30 pm

Posada San Francisco (across from the Jardín)
70 peso Donation * 50 pesos for Sala Members
Complimentary Wine Reception

Sandy Baum, professional photographer and pilot, will give a talk, "A Tale of Two Cities"
C.M. Mayo will present and discuss her translation
the first into English of Francisco I. Madero's secret book, the Spiritist Manual.


Because the Spiritist Manual is only available as an ebook (and yes, more editions will be available soon), I won't be able to sign books, but I will be delighted to sign other books (The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, and Mexico: A Traveler's Literary Companion, for example), and take questions. I look forward to a very lively discussion!


February 20 and 21, 2012 San Miguel de Allende
Two Day Writing Intensive: "Techniques of Fiction"

>>See a profile on the San Miguel Writers Conference website.

Directly following the San Miguel Writers Conference
Monday and Tuesday, February 20 and 21, 2012
>Click here for more information and to register on-line

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.

Meanwhile, whether you take the workshop or not, help yourself from "Giant Golden Buddha" & 364 more 5 minute writing exercises.

This winter I won't be teaching at the Writer's Center in Bethesda Maryland as I usually do because I'll be embarking on a new book project, a collection of essays about West Texas, specifically, the area around the little desert town of Marfa. As part of this project, starting in January 2012, I'll be posting a monthly podcast. Check it out at this link:

Watch the two promotional videos here:
Where is Marfa?

Where the Buffalo Is Marfa?

How to Break a Writing Block
C.M. Mayo on the power on the five minute writing exercise. The end of this podcast offers an exercise— so get out your pen and paper. (For more exercises, visit "Giant Golden Buddha & 364 More 5 Minute Writing Exercises.)
*About 11 minutes. Please note that on iTunes the timing is only 7 minutes, so if you're doing the writing exercise, best to listen on podomatic (the button to the left).

Many more of my podcasts on various topics, and including several on the craft of fiction can be found here:


Notes on Podcasting
Guest-blogger Jim Johnston on 5 Places in Mexico City to See with Your Feet Off the Ground
Guest-blogger Claudia Long on 5 Delicious Links to the Food of Baroque Mexico

Guest-blogger Patricia Harman 5 Sites to Help You Go Green
Guest-blogger Gerry Hadden 5 Great Places to Visit You'll Probably Never Find

Well, for real, I am reading War & Peace.
My goal is to get to the end of this year without having to make yet another New Year's resolution to read it! I welcome your comments.

This is the blog I use to share my research into that 19th century period in Mexico known as the Second Empire or "French Intervention." Basically I am going through my files and bookshelves, one Tuesday at a time. This research was intensive-- all for writing my novel, The Last Prince of the Mexican Empire, which is based on the true story. Posting has been sparse recently but I did post a note about Don Pedro de Montezuma's letter of warning to Maximilian dated 1864.


All about the secret book by the leader of Mexico's 1910 Revolution, Francisco I. Madero.

Read more interviews here.

(For subscribers only)

"C.M. Mayo on Creative Writing: The Best from the Blog," a 50+ page cornucopia of the tips from my writing workshops. Click on the cover to download this fully formatted PDF (which you can read on any computer and also open in iBooks).
subscribers receive the passwords for free e-books in the newsletter e-mail]



Miraculous Air, my memoir of travels in Baja California, originally published by the University of Utah Press and available in paperback from Milkweed Editions, is now also available in Kindle wth a snappy new cover.

From Mexico to Miramar or, Across the Lake of Oblivion, a long essay about a journey to Maximilian von Habsburg's castle in Trieste, is also available on Kindle.



My translation of "Why I Read," an essay by Mexican writer Agustin Cadena, has been published in The Chatahoochie Review, and my translation of Cadena's short story "Parque Murillo" appears in the anthology Three Messages and a Warning, edited by Eduardo Jiménez Mayo and Chris N. Brown (Small Beer Press, 2011).

Cadena is such an elegant and vivid writer. If you read Spanish, be sure to check out his blog, El vino y la hiel.

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

Kind regards,

C.M. Mayo