Category Archives: Travel

How to Make Friends in San Miguel

I wrote the following article for the San Miguel de Allende SPA (Sociedad Protectora de Animales). It appeared in their newsletter and also in the city’s newspaper, the Atención.

Paul sitting w dogs SMAHow to Make Friends in San Miguel by Paul Schiratti (It’s published under Mr. Grumpy’s name, but I wrote it.)

Years ago, while waiting in line at the Teatro Angela Peralta, I overheard the stranger behind me say he needed a fourth for tennis.

“I brought my racket,” I said.

“Great! Here’s where we’re playing…”

I’ve been playing with them ever since.

That’s hardly a unique experience in San Miguel. Five minutes in the Jardin and you’ve already met two new people and received three restaurant recommendations.

I’ve met many wonderful people and had many exceptional experiences in San Miguel, but the most fulfilling, the one I hurry back to each year, is walking the dogs at the S.P.A.

No sooner do I unpack, when I head down Canal Street to see my friends. My welcome is deafening. Barking, howling, baying—a sweet melody of doggie greeting. I walk through the well-maintained, volunteer-run facility, past each brightly painted cage to see old friends and new faces.

There’s Dulce and Guera, Shy and Nube. I’ve been walking them for years.

And years.

Paul dog walking SMAI’m delighted to see them, but it breaks my heart they’re still here, year after year, hopefully awaiting their forever homes. No matter how clean and bright each cage is, it’s still a cage. Dogs need a home of their own and a family—even a family of one. Add a dog, and now you’re two.

I volunteer because I love dogs, San Miguel and walking and making new friends—of both the human and the canine varieties. The S.P.A. satisfies all my passions.

I walk the larger dogs, together with other volunteers—strangers one minute, best buddies the next. My wife prefers the smaller dogs, and sometimes “socializes the puppies.” (Read: plays with them.) Cats, too.

Sadly, this year, we stayed home because our older rescue dog had grown too frail to board. And indeed, she crossed the rainbow bridge just before Christmas—too late for us to change our plans and join you in SMA this year.

I miss San Miguel, the Jardin, the coffee window, parque Benito Juarez. I miss Azteca soup and the soulful violin of Pedro Cartas. I miss the music and the dining and the art and the people.

But most of all, I miss the dogs.

Here's Paul with t

Here’s Paul with the casita we sponsor each year.

 

 

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REVIEWERS: wear your files!

As a special THANK YOU TO REVIEWERS for all that you do for our community, I’ve produced these sexy black braceletsSpecial Reviewer Gift at GRL–that are also USBs!

So if you’ve ever reviewed one of my books, whether positively or not, find me at GRL next week and I’ll loop you up with one of these fun memory-bracelets so you can wear your files!

But I only have 23–so be sure to look me up right away. I’m not signed up as an official author, but I will be hanging with writerly BFFs Jamie Lynn Miller and Cat Grant who are.

Oh, and the bracelet just happens to contain an ARC of my latest book, Lost Boys 2.0, along with backlist and samples from all three of us: Grant, Grant and Miller. 

Is it GRL yet?

In case you can’t read the tag, it says:

Dear Reviewer,
Thank you for everything you do to bring readers and writers together.

 

You looking for me?

I just updated my conference schedule for the balance of 2014. If you’re going to be at any of these, please give me a shout so we can meet up. (And btw, I got all my lovely long curls cut today, so look for lovely short curls instead!) Warning: Selfie! (Isn’t that a great mirror? We go that at a demolition sale of a wonderful old house in Rosedale.

new haircutLuckily, Gina X. Grant and Storm Grant only take up one seat or we wouldn’t be able to attend all these awesome conferences and conventions. If you followed my Mexican exploits in February where AC lost my luggage for 4 days, you’ll know I am now traveling only with carry-on, so don’t look for me to have my amazing wardrobe with me.

Coming up…

April 17 to 20, I’m attending RainbowCon for the first time. I can’t wait to see people I’ve only met online prior to this.

October 16 to 19, GayRomLit in Illinois. I should have books by then!
Then crazy me, I’ll be flying directly form Chicago, to Florida for my first NinC Conference, October 22-26.

November 14 to 16, I love SFContario, another book-based sci-fi con held right in downtown Toronto.

And you can always find me at…

The Toronto Romance Writers (TRW), which is the Toronto chapter of the Romance Writers of America (RWA). Why not drop by? Your first meeting’s on us! Schedule here.

I’m also a member of the Sisters in Crime (SinC) Toronto chapter and attend as many meetings as I can there, too. C’mon by. $5 a meeting.

Every April, I attend Ad Astra, an annual book-base convention right here in Toronto, Canada.

Any other suggestions for me?

 

I won! I won! But I almost got missed! #AADSAV

FEW ARE CHOSEN won Best YA Short Story of 2012 here at Authors After Dark’s Bookie Awards!  But I almost got skipped!

I had a blast at the Bookie Awards ceremony. I invited myself to sit at the Torquere table and the evening started out witFewAreChosenh the two owners getting up to say a few words (they were the sponsors of the event) and getting engaged right there on the podium. The crowd went bonkers! We all cried for their joy!

Then MC Mary Janice Davidson–who is a huge influence on my writing–got up and was very funny. The next presenter got up and said, first they made you cry, then they made you laugh, what am I supposed to do now? Which made us all laugh.

Then they began to present in earnest category after category, Stella Price, organizer extraordinaire had arranged it so the first categories announced were the ones where the winners were present. So when they skipped over BEST YA SHORT STORY OF 2012, I assumed I hadn’t won. Oh, well. But I’m not bitter.

Then they went swiftly through the remaining categories and when my name was called everyone at my table yelled, but she’s here. She’s here! Apparently the registration was in my Gina X. Grant name and not Storm Grant, who’d actually won. But they let me make my wee acceptance speech (under 60 seconds was the mandate). They didn’t have a physical award for me but they’re going to mail one to me.

My acceptance speech was about how, when I’d first started writing slash fanfic and then m/m fiction, it had all been under the table and you didn’t tell anyone. Now, not too many years later, we were competing on an equal playing field with all genres and genders and it was all good.

So enjoy my wee story. It’s available here at the Riptide table or from all the regular eBook outlets. Here’s the Amazon link.

 

Last day in Mexico

We leave tomorrow. I’m still awfully sick and I hear I missed a wonderful concert and dinner. Instead I listed to the BBC radio play of Neil Gaiman’s “Neverwhere”. It was very good. Benedict Cumberbatch played an angel.

I’ll carry on posting pict052 (640x427)ures of Mexico for a few more days.

If you know me, you know I love shopping, so here’s the Tuesday Market, a massive tent city that springs up one day a week out by the highway. You can get anything there, from electronics (I bought a laptop cooling pad for US$10.00 last year and  it works better than the $40.00 one I bought at Future Shop) to live chickens. Dinner anyone?

They have tables and tables piled with clothing. If you root through it, you can find some nice designer bargains. I got a wonderful long sleeve T-shirt for 50 pesos (about $4.50) and a sparkly little top that I wore to a fancy dinner for 20 pesos (about $1.50).

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I’m sick in Mexico (but not sick of Mexico)

004 (427x640)I’ve got, not La Tou020 (427x640)rista as expected (in fact, I’ve never had a “tummy bug” while traveling, touch virtual wood), but a bad cold. My throat is swollen and I’m feeling pretty crappy. So because I’m in bad shape, I give you more fun pictures of Mexico.

Here’s Random Couple Dancing in the Main Square (the Jardin, pronounced by Gringos as “Hard Dean” which conjures up all sorts of fun fannish thoughts. But I digress.

And on the right, a nice shot of a random street.

I’m all about the random this morning, apparently.

Mexico in pictures!

044 (427x640)When I had a day job, I looked forward to vacations and days off (even surgery!) as time to write. So for the first time in ages, I’m on vacation and I’m not writing. In fact, I’ve hardly been writing emails and I have only written one blog post.

This morning I off-loaded our pictures from the camera and so now I will share with you a couple a day.

1) Here’s a shot of Jean from Minnesota (left) and me outside St. Paul’s Episcopalian Church.

2) And this is the tennis court where Mr. Grumpy played three times a week.

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More tomorrow!

Down Mexico Way…

We arrived a couple of days ago without major incident. So far we’ve reconnected with old friends and had many good meals. Sunday night we attended a rather unusual concert–a string quartet + pianist played live, an original “soundtrack” for two old silent films: “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari” and “Sherlock Jr.” starring Buster Keaton.

The Cabinet had been a real ground-breaker in its day. It was the first horror film ever made; the first surreal film with odd angles and strange backdrops; and it was also the first “framed” film ever made–framed meaning it began and ended with a different story so it was a “story within a story”. It was pretty hard to follow, though, even though the conductor/composer/pianist outlined the entire plot in advance.

This morning I attended a Tai Chi class. Completely different than what I do at home, but in some ways, better. My knee no longer hurts.

Here are a few pictures I took. We traded this (taken Toronto, Feb 28, 2013)

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For this, taken March 11, 2013, San Miguel de Allende, Mexico.

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