JUVENTUD: Final Media Roundup of 2015

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As 2015 winds to a close and debut novels are drowned out in the literary-list madness of December, I thought I’d list the most recent accolades for Juventud here lest you think launch season is ending on a whimper and not a bang. Once again, the novel earns the spotlight at The Quivering Pen blog, where David Abrams has included it in his A Year of Reading Best Book Covers, along with works by Laura van den Berg, Lydia Davis, Lauren Groff, Rick Moody, Ann Tyler, Salmon Rushdie, and my favorite by Joe Meno.

In the book critic realm, several more thoughtful and praise-filled reviews have appeared. I am especially appreciative for this review of Juventud by Donna Miele for the Atticus Review. Miele says, “In the details of Mercedes’s family and social life Blakeslee offers an understanding of relationship and setting—or relationship as setting—that allows Juventud to transcend the trappings of both romance and thriller, though the story flirts with both genres. This is a novel that should generate a lot of discussion and response by future authors, to be pored over and remembered.” Book blogger Stefani Cox loved the novel and had much to say about it on her blog, including a shout-out to Curbside Splendor for publishing a diverse array of authors.

Last but not least, if you’re behind on your podcast listening and plan to spend your New Year’s Day pitching clutter instead of nursing a hangover, you may want to check out my story of how I came to Florida, performed at THE SWAMP at this year’s Miami Book Fair, and recorded by John King for The Drunken Odyssey podcast Episode 183 (which also features a terrific interview with Mary Karr). And finally, one of my favorite conversations about Juventud was with Sarah Werner for The Write Now podcast.  Why not listen in as you clean out those old files and chase away the New Year’s Eve fuzz with a shot or two of espresso? I can’t think of a more pleasant way to ring in 2016.

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My essay on DIY book trailers at The Quivering Pen, JUVENTUD reviewed in the latest Rain Taxi, & other good news!

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“Writers on writing” has long been a common spin-off of the creative writing vocation, the category now expanded to, or usurped by, “writers on publicity.” Writers guest-blogging about their book tours, their social media campaigns (“on blogging”), their wardrobes and workout regimens. As an emerging writer I find it pretty impossible to buck against this trend; I suppose one could, but you find it is hard enough to drum up attention for a several-hundred-page literary work by an unknown (new) author. The best strategy I’ve found is to pick and choose what and how I want to write about publicity, and to think hard about what information I can provide to fellow burgeoning writers that might really prove useful.

So here are my two latest micro-essays of sorts, that hopefully do more than add to the infinite void of promo-chatter: my contribution to the “Writers Recommend” series at Poets & Writers on the benefits of bellydance, and another for the “My First Time” series at The Quivering Pen blog on how to create your own amazing book trailer.

December brings list season, of course, and it warmed my heart to see Juventud included on this one from Flavorwire, on “15 Books You Might Have Missed this Year.” This week also brought the happy news that critic John Domini has reviewed the novel for the Winter 2016 issue of Rain Taxi Review of Books, a fine publication available in print only. Tremendously exciting!

And finally, the good fellows over at Burrow Press finally have the podcast recording of my interview about Juventud with Functionally Literate radio up on Soundcloud. I had a great time in the WPRK studio talking about the novel with co-hosts Jared Silvia and Ryan Rivas, although be forewarned that we delve into a tangential conversation on first person narration mid-way through. Enjoy the listen. More soon!

Multimedia madness! JUVENTUD at WESH 2 News, The Quivering Pen, The Weekly Reader, & more.

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Author David Abrams is featuring Juventud today at The Quivering Pen blog, and has this to say about the trailer: “Driven by the flamenco guitar chords of Isaac Albeniz’ ‘Asturias’ and edited by Shawn McKee, this is one of the best book trailers I’ve seen all year: thrilling, mysterious, and, yes, it steers me straight for the book.”  If you’re not familiar with The Quivering Pen, you should be: Abrams provides a smart and generous spotlight for authors and their new books, giveaways, and more (hint: this might not be the last Juventud-related feature at The Quivering Pen).

The Juventud book trailer spotlight arrives on the heels of yesterday’s multimedia excitement; YELP Orlando chose the novel to air at WESH 2 News “Shop Local” Holiday Guide. The Bookmark It “Locally Grown Words” book fair is happening on Sunday, December 13th in the courtyard of the East End Market. I’ll be there to sign copies of Train Shots at the Burrow Press booth, and of course, Juventud!

But the Juventud multimedia madness doesn’t end there. Recently, I had a wonderful conversation about with Vermont College MFA in Writing alum and Vermonter, Shelagh Shapiro, for the latest episode of the radio show/podcast, Write the Book, also featuring Lorin Stein of The Paris Review. This was one of the best interviews yet. Also available is my interview about Juventud for KMSU Mankato’s literary show, The Weekly Reader. Always great to feel the MN love! Both are now available for streaming, and make for merry listening while you bake holiday treats or deck your halls.

As you can tell, keeping up with a novel launch in the Internet Age is a breathless endeavor (and a part-time job in itself). Hope you might enjoy these multimedia “extras” about the book as much as the story itself. Which reminds me, if you’d like a signed copy of Juventud, you may order through Bookmark It’s online store.  Thank you, and happy holidays!