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Monday, April 30, 2012

Laying Tracks at J and J Books in Madrid

I’ve been back from my trip to Spain for more days than I spent in Spain. But memories from the visit are still fresh in my mind.

One of the highlights of the visit was my first international reading event: a reading from Tracks at J & J Books and Coffee in Madrid. Perhaps “Books and Beer” would be a more fitting name. The bookstore, with a highly literary crowd, seemed as much bar as bookstore. That was a good thing.

J & J Books and Coffee is a popular bookstore in Madrid specializing in English-language books. They’re also known for their Friday Quiz night, two-for-one happy hour specials, and reading events.

When we arrived, the crowd was as lively as you might expect at a neighborhood bar—people talking sports and books and travel, seated at the long bar and at tables and chairs beyond it. The manager and staff kept us supplied with house beer, wine, and cocktails. The manager stood behind the bar and introduced me. I was given a place of honor behind the beer tap. From there, I read an “Idle Chatter” from Tracks.

The conversing crowd became attentive, and during dramatic pauses in my reading it had grown quiet enough to hear a drop of beer splash against the bar.

After my reading, which lasted close to half an hour, I was warmly received by my audience. We talked about my book, my writing process, my visit to Spain and other travels. We talked about their favorite books and their writing. About why they lived in Madrid (most of them were originally from England, Ireland, Scotland, or the United States) and their own travels. It was a good time.

A bit of wisdom picked up during the conversation: “What’s for you won’t go by you.”

A bit of insight on Spanish literature: “Don Quixote was [not a good man].”

I sold out of all the books I brought with me, and signed a good number of them. It was a fine way to cap our visit to Spain.

I discovered after my invitation to read that J and J was written up in a few of the guide books we had on Spain. Here is their write-up in the New York Times:


Visit J & J Books and Coffee at their website.


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Friday, April 27, 2012

Join Us for Lit and Art This Sunday

The next event in the Lit & Art Reading Series takes place on Sunday, April 29 from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Watermark Gallery.

Featured readers include Toby Devens, Charles Rammelkamp, Katherine Cottle, and Pat Valdata. Live music will be provided by Goodloe Byron.

The original works of resident artist Manzar will be on display and available for purchase. Books by the authors will be available. Complimentary wine and refreshments will be served, and audience members will have a chance to share their own work during the open mic session.

The event takes place from 2 to 5 p.m. on Sunday, April 29 at The Watermark Gallery, located in the Bank of America Center Skywalk Level, right across from the Inner Harbor, at 100 S. Charles Street, Baltimore, Maryland. The phone number is (410) 547-0452.

Started in October 2007, the Lit and Art series provides a unique opportunity to sample a wide variety of artistic sensibilities in one sitting. Hosted by authors Eric D. Goodman and Nitin Jagdish and the Watermark Gallery’s resident artist, Manzar, the events are free and open to the public.

Come experience “the best excuse to get lit in Baltimore on a Sunday afternoon.” Learn more about the Lit and Art reading series and other literary events here at http://www.writeful.blogspot.com./

Monday, April 23, 2012

Where in the World Was Eric D. Goodman?

In Spain!

I’ve been offline and out of touch for a couple weeks as I spent about nine days on siesta in Barcelona and Madrid. Each city was wonderful in its own way. From what I experienced, Barcelona had a more Medeterranian feel, and Madrid seemed much more European. They balanced one another well.

Other than a quick night in Barajas (a suburb of Madrid), we started in Barcelona. In Montjuic, we climbed from the National Palace (and the art museum inside that featured Europe’s most complete collection of frescos) to the castle (which reminded me a lot of an older—but more recently active—version of Baltimore’s own Fort McHenry), and the Olympic stadium.

In Barcelona’s Old Town, we enjoyed the Gothic Quarter with the Barcelona Cathedral, Town Hall, and Casa de l’Ardiaca. We strolled along Las Rambles and took a trip through the Picasso Museum. And we got a taste of Gaudi’s surreal architecture and art in Palau Guell.

In the neighborhood where our B & B was, Eixample, we marveled at more of Gaudi’s masterworks: Sagrada Familia (the most unusual cathedral I have ever seen—in a good way), Casa Mila, Casa Batllo, and a bit further afield, Park Guell.

Then it was back to Madrid. We stayed about a two minute walk from the soul of Spain: Puerta del Sol. The Royal Palace, the Communications Palace, City Hall, the Metropolis Building, a private viewing of San Miguel Basilica, walks through Plaza de Cibeles, and two of the three flagship museums: Thyssen Bornemisza and Museo del Prado.

One of the personal highlights to the visit was my reading from Tracks at J and J Books and Coffee. It was a great place to get to know the local ex-pat community, consisting of people from all over: America, Ireland, England, Scotland, and even some Spanish natives who spoke English. During my reading, the crowded bar listened so attentively, during dramatic pauses you could hear a beer tap drip. (I read behind the bar.)

In the shadow of all these great sights, some of the best times were taking breakfast of Spanish coffee and sandwiches at a stand-up café, or enjoying tapas and wine in Plaza Mayor, or a snifters of Spanish brandy at a local bar in Puerta del Sol.

In fact, I hadn’t planned on it, but I’m inspired to take up some travel writing again. I decided to write down some thoughts on my trip over the weekend, and I’m already twenty pages into a armchair travel story. If I could sit in a Gaudi-designed office with a cup of Café con Leche or some 1886 brandy, I may be able to finish it.

Take a look at Gaudi’s Wiki page and check out some of the images toward the later years of his career:

Enjoy a sip of 1886:

Or some Café con Leche:

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Friday, April 06, 2012

Making Tracks for Spain

Next week, Tracks makes its debut in Madrid, Spain!

My novel in stories has been available in Europe for months. This will be my first Tracks reading abroad. The event is free to the public at takes place at 7 p.m. on Sunday, April 15

J & J Books and Coffee is a popular bookstore in Madrid specializing in English-language books. They’re also known for their Friday night Quiz night, two-for-one happy hour specials, and reading events.

Here is their write-up in the New York Times:


Visit J & J Books and Coffee at their website.


Learn more about my reading at J & J Coffee and Books in Madrid next week at their website’s events page.


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Wednesday, April 04, 2012

CityLit Festival 9

Saturday, April 14 is the 9th annual CityLit Festival!

The CityLit Festival is a day-long celebration (from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.) held at the Enoch Pratt Free Library in downtown Baltimore and presented in partnership with the CityLit Project.

According to Baltimore Magazine, “CityLit Festival is a can’t miss event on the city’s cultural scene.”

Three floors of literary activity will fill the library. The Literary Marketplace will present literary organizations, small presses, magazines, literary journals, and will even feature the Lit & Art reading series and my own novel in stories, Tracks.

Headliners include Walter Isaacson, Benjamin Busch, Edward Hirsch, Tom Lux, Jennifer Bodine, and Jon Michaud.

Learn more about the 9th annual CityLit Festival at the Enoch Pratt website.


Or see the brochure here.


Find out more about the CityLit Project at their website.

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Monday, April 02, 2012

Beyond the Release in Potomac Review

You may remember a short essay posted by Potomac Review last year about my experience with the release of my debut novel in stories, Tracks. In it, I wrote about the thrill of release day. You can find it here at the link below.


The editors of Potomac Review asked me to write a follow up to that with a little bit about an author’s experience beyond the release. My answer: “Beyond the Release: It Doesn’t End on Release Day,” which was published on Potomac Review’s blog.

In it, I talk about the experience following release day.

“I have tos ay that, for me, even more thrilling than a book sale is a note of support and encouragement from an author I admire. I feel like I’m rich in that department.”

Take a look at “Beyond the Release” at Potomac Review.


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