Greetings from Miami, Florida. The title of this blog comes, of course, as a paraphrase of a Jimmy Buffett song I've always liked, "Everybodys Got a Cousin in Miami." I happen not to have a cousin in Miami, but I have something better--two close friends from San Miguel de Allende, Mexico, where I wrote A Southern Girl between 1993 and 1995. Barbara and Federico Vidargas moved here from Chicago a few months ago and have generously made their downtown condo available to me. This will be their first winter here, and unless they miss too much the biting winds, sideways blizzards and bone chilling temperatures of Chicago, I'm guessing they will make this home.
I'm here for the Miami Book Fair, the largest of its kind in the country. With 650+ authors, of every genre imaginable, I'm fully justified in saying that everyone has a writer in Miami. The Fair kicks into high gear this weekend with an expected attendance of over 200,000, according to MBF officials. My program is on Sunday, November 23 at 1 p.m., and while I do not expect all 200,000 to attend, I'm optimistic for a nice crowd. From my condo I can see the Marlins baseball stadium, so if things get out of hand I suppose MBF could move my event there.
I've never spent any time in Miami, but that may change. This place is rocking, with contruction everywhere. I'm told that most of it is driven by demand from Latin America and Cuba. Like Mexico, many of those are cash economies, which lessens the likelihood of the mortgage meltdowns the U.S. experienced. Last night I ventured into the Brickell section to do anthropological research on the natives and found myself trapped in a place called the Blue Martini. The band was hot and it seemed rude to leave so I stayed for two sets and one blue martini.
Many of the author presentations are being live-streamed, so anyone with a computer and an internet connection can watch. The MBF website has the complete list (www.miamibookfair.com). Also, for the first time, PBS is covering the Fair, so its reach will be expanded expodentially from the mere 200,000 attending. It should be great fun.