Wednesday, June 12, 2013


Browsing YouTube for examples of Arturo Sandoval’s magical trumpet playing, I came across this spectacular nine minutes:
Sandoval, the subject of Andy Garcia’s inspiring film, For Love of Country, is a Cuban-American who is widely recognized as the preeminent trumpet player of our time. As someone who at one time had planned to be a classical trumpet player, I was struck by the instrument he is now playing—a combination of brass and carbon fiber.

I was totally unaware that carbon fiber had replaced any part of a trumpet and was interested to learn that Sandoval is now playing one manufactured by daCarbo, a Swiss manufacturer. The world has certainly changed from the time when Schilke and Bach Stradivarius were the most sought-after horns. Part of the pizzazz of trumpets was always their gleaming brass or silver bells that reflected the lights. Sadly, carbon fiber bells, like stealth fighters, reflect nothing.

The glitz may be gone, but the sound is magnificent. I hope you enjoy Arturo’s magic.

p.s. Many thanks to those of you who have called or written about the Honorable Mention Award from the New York Book Festival.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Island of the White Rose Ties for Third and Receives Honorable Mention at this Year's New York Book Festival

Received word from the New York Book Festival Fiction Competition today that Island of the White Rose won honorable mention, tying for third place. The festival takes place June 21-22 in New York City. I hope this is a harbinger of good things to come for Island.

It’s hard getting back to work after attending Book Expo America, a dazzling book fair at the Javits Center, a huge complex. I spent so many hours walking its length repeatedly that there was no danger of gaining an ounce from any of the many meals taken at a variety of New York restaurants. The highlight of the week was having dinner at the Cosmopolitan Club with my editor and publisher, Barbara and Warren Phillips. Although I have worked with them for nearly a year, we had never met. Barbara shared her recent photos of Cuba, and Warren informed me that Publishers Weekly had agreed to review Island. They were very gracious hosts, and I enjoyed our dinner at that historic building, a center of literature since the early 20th Century.

It was fun visiting with my boyhood friends, Paul and Carl, as well as my cousins, Al, Sussie, Carol and Steve. Paul and Ronni Ginsberg were fantastic hosts at their lovely home on Huckleberry Hollow in Stamford and made us feel very much at home. I always learn of something new that Costco sells whenever I look in Ronni's refrigerator. This visit was no exception—the tzatziki is wonderful and with the paleo diet being the order of the day, a relatively safe cheat on top of a mushroom omelet.