Interviews at Fiction Writers Review and the Orlando Weekly, plus letter to my adolescent self at DEAR TEEN ME

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Gearing up for the hometown launch of Juventud tomorrow evening at 6-9pm at the East End Market, and crossing fingers here that we’ve got enough copies of the novel for the crowd that will be descending after this locally-focused author spotlight in the current issue of the Orlando Weekly. I’ll be spending this evening baking Colombian sugar cookies for tomorrow night’s festivities, and perhaps a few other surprises.

More great press this week, including a conversation I had recently with Barrett Bowlin about Juventud at Fiction Writers Review. “Train Shots,” the story, was published under his editorship of Harpur Palate and you can imagine his excitement in following the collection’s success, especially the news that it has been optioned for film.

An especially enjoyable piece to write was the letter to my adolescent self, featured this week at DEAR TEEN ME. I tackled a subject I’ve been itching to write about for a while — how the AIDS scare paralyzed my generation — although I never would have guessed my essay would emerge in the shape of a letter…to myself. Hope you enjoy the read.

Lastly, thanks to Ryan Rivas and LitHub for including me in 30 Questions for 30 Writers at the Miami Book Fair, which is in just a couple of weeks. MBFI is one of my favorite literary events in the Sunshine State, and it will be a dream come true to present Juventud to the audience there on Saturday, Nov. 21st.

Now, off to bake!

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