Thursday, July 17, 2014

Looking for Providence in Boston Spirit magazine

Thank you Boston Spirit magazine for the literary love in the July/August issue for my book Looking For Providence.

From the article, "Diaz's previous novels were set in Boston and his native Miami, so it's a treat to see the colorful city of Providence captured in the pages. It's a place that is close to Diaz's heart...But more than the setting, it's the romance, community, and, most of all, friendship that in the end make this tale a relatable one.''

By the way, Boston Spirit is free to subscribe.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Got books?

Little Free Libraries are popping up all over South Florida and probably in a neighborhood near you. They are small wooden structures like a doll house or bird house but filled with free books. You can take one or drop one off. Here's my story on these free mini-libraries which you can build your own.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Interview with Ronnie Reyes from "Looking for Providence"

This is the sixth in a series of interviews that I've done with one of my books' characters. (Call me creative or maybe a little craycray but I have fun writing these. In addition to my novels and this blog, it's another way to entertain myself until my next Netflix DVD arrives in the mail. Yes, I'm old-school snail-mail like that.)

Over the years, I've done one-on-one interviews with Tommy Perez of Boston Boys Club at a  Boston Market in Boston; one with Ray Martinez, the movie critic from Miami Manhunt at the Boston Common movie theater, a Q and A with Ted Williams, the TV reporter from the same book but at a Miami TV station, and I had a gab fest with Kyle Andrews, the preening reality TV model from Boston Boys Club at a South End coffeehouse. The last interview I did was with Gabriel Galan of Take the Lead at Marina Bay in Quincy.

This new interview brings me to Providence where I caught up with Ronnie Reyes who gets his own story in Looking for Providence

Ronnie is a 25-year-old newspaper Business writer in Rhode Island's capital city. He has short dark wavy hair combed up and matching thin eyebrows, a younger and Twinkie-like John Stamos.

We agreed to meet up at the Starbucks in Wayland Square where I visited last month.

I sat at one of the black metal tables outside the coffeehouse when a white Nissan Cube screeched and pulled up on Angell Street.

A young guy happily waved at me from the driver's seat.

That was Ronnie. He had told me to be on the look out for a white Hello-Kitty type car. As he gingerly stepped out of the boxy Japanese car, his messenger bag bounced against his lean frame. He had a happy go-lucky smile as he approached me. Damn, he looks really young! (Is it me or are my characters getting younger while I increasingly add more salt to my peppered hair?)

"JOHNNY!" he moved in for a big hug! "It's so nice to eat you, ah, I mean meet you!" Ronnie said, his brows furrowed from slight embarrassment. "Sorry about that. Sometimes I say the wrong thing. I never know what's going to come out of my mouth."

Monday, July 7, 2014

Looking for Providence, in Provincetown

A big BIG thank you to Cape Air/Nantucket Airlines for including my new book Looking for Providence in your new summer issue of Bird's Eye View magazine.  The editors included the book in the Provincetown for Summer section. The airline is very popular among greater Bostonians and New Englanders in general who want to escape to Provincetown, Nantucket, Hyannis, Martha's Vineyard and other vacation islands in the Caribbean and who want to get there quickly.

Sunday, July 6, 2014

The new eyes in the sky

Josh Barth flies his drone in Fort Lauderdale.

It's a bird, it's a plane. Nah, it's a drone.
Drones are taking off in South Florida where hobbyists, tourists, realtors (and hurricane center officials) have found different uses for them. Here's my story on the drone invasion

Monday, June 30, 2014

Tomar La Iniciativa lands on Amazon's bestseller list

This is muy cool! Tomar La Iniciativa, the Spanish version of my fourth novel, Take the Lead, landed at #1 on Amazon's bestseller lists for Spanish gay fiction today.  I'm so happy that others are discovering the story of college professor Gabriel Galan as he deals with feeling old (even at 36) while dating in a college town like Boston where he also tries to help his stubborn Cuban father manage his Parkinson's disease. It's a book that is very close to my heart because like Gabriel, my father struggles with Parkinson's. And since the book was published, I've discovered that some of my old friends (and former coworkers) have a father, mother or aunt with Parkinson's. It's a disease that patients and their families don't seem to like to talk about which is one of the reasons I wrote it, to get people talking (in English or espanol!)  Here is a link to a CBS Boston interview that I did when the English language book came out.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why iSelfpublished my fifth novel

"Wow, Johnny, congratulations on your what, fifth book? Who's your publisher?"

"Amazon!" I declare. "I decided to self-publish this new book."

"Ah, okay. Congrats!"

It's a frequent conversation and I know what they're thinking, why self-publish? Why take that publishing path when I had two publishers for my previous four novels? There seems to be a literary stigma when you tell folks that you've self-published, like it's a bad thing. There's a pause, followed by a raised eyebrow and then a slight Hmm.

So why did I self-publish? The answer may not be what you think.

After working with my two publishers, whom I've enjoyed collaborating with and learned a lot from over the years beginning with my debut novel Boston Boys Club, I was curious (like us reporters tend to be.) I wanted to experience the process of publishing from beginning to end, on my own. In the past four years, I've watched some of my favorite authors (Alisa Valdes) dabble in self-publishing. When I read those books, I was impressed by the quality of the cover design, paper and of course, the content. They looked and read like real books. Wait, they were real books, like any other.

When I finished writing my new book Looking for Providence last fall, the idea of self-publishing intrigued me. Could I do this? It would be a new challenge, an education in publishing, a great way to learn about this emerging side of publishing. I had no idea of how to do it but I wanted to at least try. A literary experiment began.

There was another reason why I wanted to try self-publishing: I needed a project that would distract from the loss of my mom who passed away last November. Writing and editing the book was one of my few outlets from dealing with her aggressive colon cancer. I believed that self-publishing this book would be therapeutic, something fun and positive to focus on during the weekends besides my family and the raw memories. Hanging out with my fictional characters - Ronnie in Providence and Elias in Miami  - kept me busy. I felt productive again. Focusing on the book was a way for me to focus on my healing.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Looking for Providence, Found in Wilton Manors

A big thank you to the Stonewall National Museum and Archives for hosting my first book reading last Friday for my new book Looking for Providence.  The reading took place in the museum's new gallery space in Wilton Manors, right in the heart of the city.  I met new faces as well as some familiar ones from my previous readings and I enjoyed answering questions about the writing and publishing process and how to stay motivated and disciplined to write a book. Thanks David and Emery for having me.  For my upcoming appearances, check here.

a nice Tweet from the event.

with Rev. Joel Slotnick at the reading at Stonewall.