Miami Book Fair Update, plus Interview with Rob Alexander at Saw Palm

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Whew! Just settling back home after an exhilarating weekend at the Miami Book Fair International where I was honored to participate as an author. On Thursday night, Burrow Press & Co. kicked off the festivities onstage at “The Swamp” in a reading showdown with Miami authors. I read a satirical piece aptly entitled, “Florida National Guard Invades Cuba,” which appeared a couple of years ago in the anthology, Far-flung and Foreign. Much fun was had with literary friends new and old including Jaquira Diaz, Lynne Barrett, Ivonne Lamazares, Jamie Poissant, Lindsay Hunter, & Boris Fishman, just to name a few. BP nonfiction editor and conference-partner-in-crime, Susan Fallows and I hit up the Penguin book truck for some classics and dashing new totes, chatted with the lovely folks at Akashic and Books & Books, and attended some revealing panels on book reviewing in the Internet age and the VIDA count. The festivities concluded with Sunday evening’s presentation featuring John Cleese of Monty Python fame — truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Conclusion? Miami Book Fair Int’l is a must-attend for lit folks in Florida and a less overwhelming, cost-effective (and warmer!) alternative to AWP.  I’m extremely grateful to Books & Books and Miami Dad College for inviting me, as it made for the perfect grande finale of the Train Shots 2014 Book Tour.

And now for something completely different. Saw Palm, the literary magazine based at USF, interviewed me this fall and asked some thoughtful, worthwhile questions. You may read my conversation with editor Rob Alexander here:

http://www.sawpalm.org/interview-with-vanessa-blakeslee.html

“Pura Vida, or Reflections on the Good Life” Essay at The Gloria Sirens

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A couple of weeks ago I attended the Other Words Conference in St. Augustine, FL, and had a raucous good time with the lively and insightful women writers who are the Gloria Sirens. They invited me to submit a “Sister Siren” guest post, and I was all too happy to contribute (I love the photos they chose to accompany the piece — just perfect). You can read it here:

https://thegloriasirens.wordpress.com/2014/11/21/pura-vida-or-reflections-on-the-good-life/

Interview with Belle Reve Literary Journal

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The Belle Reve Literary Journal focuses on “the Southern experience” and I’m happy to have chatted with them about inspiration, forthcoming books, and advice. My favorite question:

“Choose three words that describe your writing nook/office.

Sun, notebook, mug”

You can read the interview here:

http://www.bellerevejournal.com/2014/11/interview-with-award-winning-author.html

Having tea with Horace: I talk “Ars Poetica” with John King at The Drunken Odyssey podcast

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“Study to be wise,” states Horace. Can creative writing be taught, and can we trace the first MFA program back to 1st century Rome? In the latest episode of The Drunken Odyssey podcast, John King and I discuss our 2nd ancient tome on the craft of storytelling, Horace’s Ars Poetica. Our lively banter delves into tangential topics such as dissecting the gore and decadence in narrative via the context of Shakespeare’s King Lear and MacBeth, Medea, ExcaliburGame of Thrones and more.       

http://thedrunkenodyssey.com/2014/11/16/episode-126-a-craft-discussion-about-horaces-ars-poetica-with-vanessa-blakeslee/