Friday, October 26, 2012

October Leaves

Melinda Palacio
You know your book is official when you spot it in a bookstore's window.

Next week is the official roll out of my new poetry book, How Fire Is a Story, Waiting. There have been several preambles, including a reading and a few sales at the Las Comadres Writers Conference in New York. The excitement of showing off my first full-length poetry book caused me to overnight 10 copies to myself. Of course, I didn't tell anyone about this prideful and foolish act, not to mention the shipping expense which I will not recoup even though I sold all ten copies. I knew my days and luck in New York were coming to a close, at least for 2012. Along with the three trips to New York, beginning with the Mariposa Award at the International Latino Book Awards in May, the Brooklyn Book Festival in September, and the Las Comadres y Los Compadres Writers Conference, this year has proven to be more than thrilling, thanks to all three of my NY hosts Sherman Chan, Toni Plummer, and Lizzie and Mark Cofrancesco.

At the Las Comadres y Los Compadres Writers Conference, NY

The next preamble was my visit to the Michigan City Public Library in Michigan City, Indiana, and Purdue North Central. The library's format consisted of an interview by Michigan City's Lucrecia Guerrero and then a reading. After the interview, Lucrecia left her chair on stage and took a seat in the audience. From the vantage of some photos, it looks as if I am pulling a Clint Eastwood and talking to an empty chair. 
That empty chair thing...

A minor adjustment to this awkward format is my only suggestion. The librarians, staff, and townsfolk who came out on a rainy day impressed me. I love the town because they featured me on the front page of their newspaper two days in a row. Also, reading at Purdue North Central and visiting Kenny Kincaid's class was a highlight. 
Savoring the rare moment of being on the front page of Michigan City's The News Dispatch.

While I was in Indiana, I received notice from Bilingual Press that Ocotillo Dreams is in reprint. More gratitude to everyone who has ordered a copy of the novel for themselves and their classes.

My hosts in Indiana, Lucrecia Guerrero and Jerry Holt, sure made me feel like a rockstar with their warm welcome, not to mention they drove me everywhere, including gorgeous Lake Michigan, where I had a chance to see the Fall leaves in their golden splendor.
Fall Colors at Purdue North Central

The October portion of the Fire tour winds down with the Texas Book Festival this weekend. Reyna Grande will be on three panels and I will be in conversation with Jeff Biggers, Sunday October 28 at 1:45-2:45 pm in the Extension Room E2.030 of the Texas State Capitol. The moderator will be Erica Grieder.

When I return to California on Tuesday, I will be on David Starkey's the Creative Community Show. If the name sounds familiar, David Starkey is Santa Barbara's poet laureate emeritus and one of the hardest working poets and educators I know. He has this to say about my new poetry book:

“Continue to fix broken things,” Melinda Palacio writes in “Ramona Street,” and the poems in How Fire Is a Story, Waiting are consumed with naming the problems of the world and trying—however provisionally—to set them right.  Palacio’s verse, dense with imagery, is by turns sorrowful and sardonic, and always the voice is her own.  There’s a little universe in this book: enter and learn."

November begins with a presentation in Compton at El Camino College and then a talk at UCSB the next day on November 2.

If you are wondering, 'does she ever stop?'.

I am taking a vacation to Cuba and will be back in time to present How Fire Is a Story, Waiting at the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque November 17 and then the next day at Luivette Resto's poetry series La Palabra at Avenue 50 studio in Highland Park at 2pm.

But first, let's get through the end of October and prepare to honor our ancestors and dress up as our favorite fictional character. Don't miss readings by your favorite blogeuros. Here's where Rudy will be this week:
Oct. 24-31, Bloguero Rudy Ch. Garcia will be in HOUSTON at the River Oaks Bookstore; and in SAN ANTONIO at the SW Workers Union Underground Library, The Twig Book Shop and at Palo Alto College. Click here for details.
Garcia's author interviews can be heard on Tue. Oct 23, 7:30pm CST on Tony Diaz's Nuestra Palabra - Latino Writers Having Their Say, KPFT 90.1fm in Houston, and seen on the Great Day SA daytime program, KENS5 TV in San Anto, Sun. Oct. 28, beginning at 12:00 noon CST.
Visit my website,, to find out where I'll be next. I am happy to send a handwritten postcard (good luck deciphering my writing) to anyone playing the 'Where in the World Is Melinda' game on Facebook and twitter. 

Melinda in Print:
DK Writings Interviews me.

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