Library Foundation flapping red cape for the bullish on books

"Toro Obscuro," Joel Salcido, poster artist for San Antonio Book Festival 2013,
“Toro Obscuro,” Joel Salcido, poster artist for San Antonio Book Festival 2013,

A full day of readings by recently published Texas authors is on the horizon for Saturday, April 13. No need to steel yourself for a drive up I-35 because the San Antonio Public Library Foundation is bringing a fresh edition of the Texas Book Festival here to the Central Library and the Southwest School of Art for seven hours of readings, discussions and signings.

logoThe preliminary schedule is so packed I assembled links to resolve (or attempt to resolve) conflicting pulls among the readings in advance. Definitely check the official website for updates before heading downtown:

All Day

  • Book Sales
  • Coloring Station, Painting Bookmarks; H-E-B Children’s Area
  • Latino Leadership for the Library En Nuestras Palabras: My Story Van, Stories on the Porch, Create A Story, Meet the Story Tellers, Stories are Milagros for the Future; Central Library Plaza Walk

10 a.m.

10:45 a.m.

  • Elaine Scott (Buried Alive!: How 33 Miners Survived 69 Days Deep Under the Chilean Desert); Children’s Area, Central Library
  • Storytelling with Sarah Loden; H-E-B Children’s Area

going-clear-cover11 a.m.

11:15 a.m.

  • Celebrating Small-Town Texas Souls with Liza Palmer and Lynda Rutledge; Moderator, Josie Seeligson; Southwest School of Art, Ursuline Campus

11:30 a.m.


12:15 p.m.

12:30 p.m.

  • A Sense of Birthplace: Investigating the Past: Beatriz de la Garza and Sarah Cortez; Moderator, Yvette Benavides; Southwest School of Art, Navarro Campus

oleander12:45 p.m.

1 p.m.

  • Sandra Cisneros performs from Have You Seen Marie?; Moderator, John Phillip Santos; Central Library

I always tell people that I became a writer not because I went to school but because my mother took me to the library.

Sandra Cisneros

job-cover1:45 p.m.

2 p.m.

2:15 p.m.

alicia2:30 p.m.

2:45 p.m.

  • At War Over the Environment: Two Experts on the Politics of Parks and the Natural World with George Bristol and Char Miller; Moderator, Weir Labatt; Southwest School of Art, Navarro Campus

3 p.m.

  • Esmeralda Santiago on Conquistadora; Moderator, José Rubén De León, Central Library
  • For readers of Young Adult fiction: Summer of the Mariposas with Guadalupe Garcia McCall; Moderator, Yvette Benavides; Southwest School of Art, Navarro Campus
  • Thinking caps and creativity crowns; H-E-B Children’s Area

3:15 p.m.

4 p.m.

4:15 p.m.


An incredible agenda for a first-time event (May there be many more).

Of course you will need breaks, so there will be children’s activities and music throughout the day.

And nourishing your mind makes you hungry, so some of San Antonio’s favorite food trucks will be parked nearby for refueling.

Hmm, this is San Antonio. Wonder where the beer stand is….

cafeNote to Austinites: Your turn to hit I-35.

Note to Self: Never get so excited about something you decide to post the whole schedule – with custom links – again.

And thanks to the Mister Barista for that caffe corretto blast.

April 12, 2013, Update:

Just received the schedule for the Latino Leadership for the Library area just outside the Central Library, and it adds another slew of author appearances.



Texas Book Festival Kicked Off in San Antonio

One of several bookmarks artist Marc Burkhardt produced for the Texas Book Festival

To make a case that the state’s signature literary event is not totally Austin-centric, the organizers of the Texas Book Festival headed down I-35 to San Antonio a couple of weeks ago to announce the featured authors and unveil the festival’s poster by artist Marc Burkhardt.

Chair Ron Weiss explained the board wants to increase the festival’s presence outside of Austin, and San Antonio is a logical choice.  Reading Rock Stars, the book festival’s program pairing readings by authors for students in economically-disadvantaged schools, already is associated with Ira Ogden and Will Rogers Elementary Schools.

Plus, Weiss said he loves San Antonio and regards it as “the most under-rated city in the country…. I love getting lost on the river and am pining for fast rail so I can eat at Auden’s,” – a particularly nice compliment coming from the owner of Jeffrey’s Restaurant and Bar. 

Hosted by Ocho at the Havana, the affair was nice but small. Representatives from Texas Monthly and Steve Bennett of the San Antonio Express-News was there, along with several authors from San Antonio: Susan Toomey Frost, Sherry Matthews, Bill Fisher and June Naylor.

While the event did not make a huge splash, the nod was significant.

And it’s almost time to hit I-35 for Austin for the multitude of readings set for the weekend of October 22.

October 12 Update: Aether Magazine, a new arts publication in Austin, includes a spread about Marc Burkhardt.

Prodigious Poster in Pursuit of Parsimony

Reflecting on her four years of blogging, author C.M. Mayo writes:    

Blogging is whatever you want it to be.  And that morphs.  I don’t worry about this so much as I once did.  I just blog.   

C.M. Mayo’s blog led my daughter and me to the San Miguel de Allende Writers’ Conference, which we now hope to make an annual pilgrimage.  But the conference also led me to wallow in the bog of blogging.      

A simple posting of very few words about a proposed product for preventing postmen from getting lost via Google map destination envelopes is highly appealing.


  I have been blogging eight weeks since San Miguel, and find myself inappropriately writing feature-length stories – a rant about John Edge’s claim that Austin had the best breakfast tacos in the U.S. turned into a more than a thousand-word restaurant review – obviously unsuitable for the attention span of anyone surfing the web.   I remain verbose, even though my favorite post of mine let the photo tell all and I am drawn to quick-read postings, such as Swiss Miss’ goggle map envelopes I discovered through a Mayo post.     

My blog also has a tendency to let politics slip in – Texas produces such rich fodder for ridicule – and I have even fired volleys at the Daughters of the Republic of Texas.  Unwise for a freelance writer trying to make a living in Texas.  Biting one’s tongue while blogging is as difficult as doing so at well-lubricated cocktail parties.  Author Margaret Atwood describes this problem on the New York Review of Books Blog:       

Oops! I shouldn’t have said that. Which is typical of “social media”: you’re always saying things you shouldn’t have said.  But it’s like the days of Hammurabi, and those of the patriarch Isaac in the book of Genesis, come to think of it: once decrees and blessings have made it out of the mouth—or, now, in the 21st century, out of the ends of the fingers and past the Send button—you can’t take them back.    

I fear blogging is a distraction diverting me from more serious writing projects.  Mayo dismisses this as not problematic (but she, of course, has several successful books under her belt):      

I’m finding it increasingly less interesting to even think about querying newspapers and magazines.  I’ve written for the LA Times, Wall Street Journal, Business Mexico, Inside Mexico, and the like, and until I started my blog, I assumed I would continue to do so.  But I prefer to put my effort into writing books (long form) and blogging (short form).  Maybe I’ll rethink this.  Sometime.     

As Atwood began to build her website in 2009, her publishers were nervous:     

“That sounds wonderful, Margaret,” they said, with the queasy encouragement shown by those on the shore waving goodbye to someone who’s about to shoot Niagara Falls in a barrel.   

Yet Atwood has embraced fully the technological advances affecting how writers communicate.   (I only wish while in San Antonio as part of Gemini Ink Autograph Series, she had convinced her friend, Colleen Grissom, to start a blog.  Reading things Colleen “shouldn’t have said” would be so entertaining.)   At the Texas Book Festival in the fall of 2009, Atwood spoke extensively of her progress from blogging to tweeting.  She regards her followers as though they are “33,000 precocious grandchildren.”     

On the subject of followers, Mayo shared one of her poetic tweets – “a tweet can be a form of poetry (twiku) or fiction (twiction)” – in “Twitter Is:”   

@c_m_mayo:  Following no one, having no followers, she was like the woman in the back closet, grumbling at the blankets, existing on mothballed air     

There’s no period at the end of that sentence because I’d used up my allotment of characters. Fster than a wlnut cn roll dwn t roof of a hen house, were gng 2 see t nd of cvlizatn   

 One of Mayo’s tweeters defined tweeting as:    

@lisaborders:    Twitter is a message in a bottle that sometimes gets answered  

If novelists such as Atwood and Mayo can confine their thoughts to 140 characters, surely there is hope for me to learn to curb my blogging output before my few followers dwindle to none.  Then again, here I am with a 700-word entry about the critical need for brevity in blogging.  

As one “grandchild” of Margaret Atwood tweeted:  “I love it when old ladies blog.” 

Note Added on April 28The Daily Beast‘s “Can the Author Survive the Internet?” 

James Wood….  said he finds looking through readers’ comments on blogs to be akin to a descent into Hades.  He added that his friend Andrew Sullivan is buckling under the strain of writing three hundred blog posts per week, which has interfered with his ability to concentrate on anything longer than a few paragraphs. 

I like readers’ comments (of course, mine are rather limited). 

Note added on May 3Margaret Atwood’s speech upon her acceptance of the American PEN Award. 

Note added on July 13:  C.M. Mayo now has a second blog for those seriously researching the “French Intervention” in Mexico and also provides podcasts online of some of her presentations on both her writing and writing in general. 

Note Added on September 5:  Here I am a few months later managing facebook fan pages, responding to yelpers and, yes, even tweeting for a restaurant client.