news & updates

Author Antonia Crane's review of Tradition in The Rumpus! The Rumpus

More Press for Tradition! Vol. 1 Brooklyn

Tradition's First Review The Feminist Wire

This just in: Tradition is now available for pre-order.

The cover just came in for Tradition! Woohoo! So excited!

Advance Praise for Tradition

"The very best of writing transports through vividly drawn characters and an attention to detail that renders every scene not only believable, but compelling. Tradition is such writing. The author, Marci Blackman, is invisible here: there is only the story and we are seized by it and its voices soon after we have heard the very first word, “Dead.” Arresting, Tradition deftly conveys us through space, memory and meaning. This is a novel to be savored and remembered, much as we do Their Eyes Were Watching God. Brilliant."

—G. Winston James, Author of Shaming the Devil

"Grit. Red earth. Southern spices. Tight like a shot gun house/​filled with characters that live full, and hard. Flava permeates every bit of this story. Beautifully crafted. Tradition."

—Sharon Bridgforth, Lambda Literary Award winning Author of "the bull-jean stories." RedBone Press

For immediate release
Contact: Charlotte Wyatt
Phone: 615 944 5204

Announcing the release of a powerful new family saga by
Award-winning Author Marci Blackman

Tradition by Marci Blackman

(Healdsburg, CA, May 2013) Marci Blackman, whose first book, Po Man’s Child, won both the ALA Stonewall Award for Best LGBT Fiction and the Firecracker Alternative Book Award for Best Fiction, brings us her second novel, Tradition. Blackman uses fast-paced lyrical narrative to elegantly move between present-day small town Ohio and the thriving African American community that existed there before and during World War II.

SYNOPSIS: At the age of 21, Gus Weesfree witnessed a brutal crime in his hometown of Tradition, Ohio, and fled. Now an old man, exhausted by a life on the run, he is compelled to confront his past only to find most of his memories buried by urban sprawl. He seeks solace in Mabel, the sister he abandoned, a lifelong alcoholic who presumed him dead.
As the surviving Weesfree family exhumes their history, Gus finds that not all was as it seemed in Tradition. The love and betrayal of his youth ran far deeper than he ever imagined.
Moving seamlessly between present-day and the 1930s and ‘40s, award-winning author Marci Blackman reveals the powerful force exerted by the past on the present. Tradition gracefully uncovers the Weesfree family secrets—and how race, family, and loyalty can shape a life.

“I think with the subjects of race and women’s rights having such a strong foothold in the recent presidential election, the overall climate is ripe for a book like Tradition,” says Blackman. “All my life I have been drawn to the stories of the marginalized, those whose voices are too often omitted from the mainstream discourse. As an author my goal is not only to amplify those voices above the fray, but in doing so to illustrate that our lives, desires, hurts, needs are not so different from one another.”

Praise for Po Man’s Child:

“Blackman's tale of a family's bleak and twisted history strikingly illustrates the way even a wounded heart will expand to accommodate the many kinds of love (both nurturing and frightening) it craves.”
— Publisher's Weekly
“Blackman renders her theme—the tragedy of the American family—in extreme terms, as if smashing her fist in one's face, and readers simply cannot avoid its impact.”

“Po Man’s Child Tramples on Taboo and ignores limits. Blackman shrinks from neither pain nor explicit connection, twisting both into something new and illuminating.”
— San Francisco Chronicle

“Po Man’s Child stands as one of the best debut novels of the year.”
— Boulder Weekly

“Blackman could be the next Toni Morrison. Or Katherine Dunn. Or William Faulkner. Or, plainly put, Marci Blackman.”
— Albuquerque Weekly

About Water Street Press

Water Street Press (WSP) publishes the best in long-form and short-form literary fiction, commercial fiction and non-fiction for an intelligent, engaged readership.

WSP’s guiding passion is to work with established writers as well as new talent in publishing work often considered too risky, controversial or “niche” for established publishers. WSP retains the traditional role of carefully curating and thoroughly editing the writers it chooses to publish, while taking advantage of emergent cost-effective and environmentally friendly production, distribution and marketing technologies.

WSP publishes both trade paperbacks and e-book editions. Readers who purchase e-books through the WSP web site will receive their purchase in three formats, ensuring compatibility with all of the most popular reading devices.

Additionally, WSP titles are available through major online e-book retailers Amazon, Barnes & Noble and the iBookstore.

For additional information, contact
Charlotte Wyatt, Editorial and Marketing Associate
Phone: 615.944.5204

2013 Happy New Year!

Whoa! It has been a while since I posted here and what a ride it had been in the interim. TRADITION has finally found a home—woohoo!—with Lynn Vannucci at Water Street Press, slated for publication in 2013. It has been a long time coming for this project, so long in fact that I've nearly finished the next one, but I am nothing short of elated that people will finally have the chance to read this sucker! All props go to my agent, Amy Tipton at Signature Literary Agency for not only making it happen, but for never giving up on me and continuing to believe in it. The tentative release is sometime early summer. Check back in the next couple of months for the official pub date and upcoming release parties, readings, tours, etc.

Summer 2011

Bike NYC Review in Urban Velo Magazine

"BIKE NYC – The Cyclist’s guide to New York City

BIKE NYC is a new guidebook to cycling NYC written by three Urban Velo contributors. Perhaps the best known of the bunch is Michael Green, the man behind Regular readers are more than familiar with Ed Glazar, as hardly an issue goes by without one or more of his photographs. And Marci Blackman, a professional author and NYC tour guide, wrote a feature for us back in issue #18.

From great people come great things, and this book is no exception. Part history book, part guidebook, it’s also a great snapshot of bicycle culture in early 21st century New York. As a guidebook, it’s not your typical “go .2 miles, turn left on Bedford and follow the bike lane to your desitination.” Although it does have specific directions and the like, it’s a lot more like a giant magazine article about riding in NYC. It’s entertaining, enlightening and oftentimes irreverent. I don’t think I’ve ever read a guidebook that suggests that you insult the natives in order to get an authentic experience!

There’s no doubt that BIKE NYC was written at a feverish pace, with tons of passion and inspiration. Yet the book exercises considerable restraint in that the authors don’t beat you over the head with the idea that their city is the best in the world. Instead they make you fall in love with it they way they have by sharing countless facts and anecdotes and even a few secrets.

And although the authors are well connected to the bike scene, the book is truly written for everyone—from bike messengers to weekend warriors.

Since this is a review, I will level a few small criticisms. The map illustrations are beautiful, but they’re too small to be of much use. The layout is clean, but it’s very dense which would make the book difficult to reference out on the street. The matte finish paper stock is attractive and easy to read, but it doesn’t let Ed’s photos “pop”. And I would like to see larger photos, even if it meant running less of them.

But none of these criticisms stood in the way of me enjoying this book. In fact, it’s got me itching to visit NYC. Check out for more info."

It's Here! Pre-order your copy today! Whether you're in New York and ride a bike, are planning to visit New York and rent a bike, or have no desire EVER to spin around the craziest city in the world on two wheels, but would love to look at some really cool photos and glean a fresh new take on its history and attractions, this book is for you.

CONTACT: Nina Boutsikaris


The Cyclist’s Guide to New York City
By Marci Blackman, Ed Glazar, and Michael Green

Good news for both the health of city dwellers and the planet—regular bicycle riding has doubled in New York City in the past four years! With protected paths and bike lanes popping up everywhere from Broadway to Prospect Park West, commuter biking and joy riding is safer and easier than ever. BIKE NYC is the definitive guide to navigating the city via its fastest growing mode of transportation. Three seasoned riders and bike tour guides, including the creator of, offer advice on fabulous rides through all five boroughs. Part guidebook, photo-essay, history, and human-interest story, BIKE NYC is all about rediscovering the city and being a part of the bike culture movement. Get exercise and gain a new perspective on New York City with adventures such as:
• Riding Manhattan tip to tip, from 122-year-old Pier A to the Cloisters
• Checking out the “Cemetery Belt,” an eighteen-mile ride through ancient cemeteries of Brooklyn and Queens
• Pedaling your way through a Manhattan and Queens art crawl
• Seeing Coney Island’s beaches as never before
• Experiencing “the Dead Pool” on Staten Island up close and personal—the place where tugboats go to die
• Taking a spooky Halloween night ride through Brooklyn brownstones
• And more!

Small enough to carry anywhere, BIKE NYC is packed with safety tips, historical facts, photographs, and listings of the best food stops and bike shops no matter where you are on your ride. Whether you’ve got a custom-built bicycle or an old hand-me-down, BIKE NYC will be your new key to the city.

To schedule an interview with the authors or request a review copy, please contact:
Nina Boutsikaris /​ 212 643 6816 x 233 /​ nboutsikaris@​

About the Authors

Marci Blackman has cycled through Europe, across the United States from San Francisco to the Outer
Banks of North Carolina, and through the high octane, traffic-snarled streets of New York. An award-winning novelist, as a tour guide, Blackman leads the daring and adventurous on two-wheeled odysseys through the city.

Ed Glazar has been riding bikes for most of his life—from the ditches and BMX tracks of east Texas to the streets of New York City. His street cred includes several years of experience as a bike courier and a dispatcher, and most recently as a New York City bike tour guide. He has been taking photographs for more than ten years.

Michael Green is the founder of the innovative blog, one of the key resources for urban cycling in New York and around the world. Michael has been quoted in the New York Times and has been interviewed by New York magazine, Time Out New York, the Village Voice, CBS, and several radio programs.

The Cyclist’s Guide to New York City
By Marci Blackman, Ed Glazar, and Michael Green
Skyhorse Publishing Paperback
On Sale: July 2011
ISBN: 978-1-61608-313-7
Price: $12.95

Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
307 West 36th Street, 11th Floor
New York, NY 10018
212 643 6816

Winter/​Spring 2010

Wow! Crazy shifts have occurred since I last updated. I switched agencies—followed Amy Tipton from Fine Print over to Signature—Ellen Pepus and Gary Heidt's agency. Was admitted to graduate school, then lost my funding when the economy crashed. Ted Kennedy died. Barack Obama was finally seen as a man and president instead of a savior, which while good for all of us is especially good for us black folk. Now, perhaps, we are one step closer to walking in a door and representing only ourselves, instead of an entire race. Earthquakes devastated Haiti and Chile. Don't worry. This is not a sad song (repeat twice and sing to the tune of PIL's "This is not a love song"). Far from it. When it finally sunk in that I would be remaining in New York awhile (completely unprepared to do so), like the rest of the world, I was forced to do a bit of revising.

Safari Anyone?
While piecing together a possible next chapter, I was offered—hands down—the coolest job I've ever had, next to writing. Literally, it was dropped in my lap.

For those of you who don't know, I am an insane cyclist! Seriously, the word "avid" when applied to me is a gross understatement. I have bicycled everywhere. Western Europe, a 4200 mile trek across the United States. I've even bicycled in Japan. So when a friend of a friend's shrugged her shoulders one day and asked if I had any interest in working as a bicycle tour guide, my mouth dropped through to the other side of the floor. Was she kidding? Is a pig happy in @#$%? Let me get this straight, I said. You mean ride my bike all day, tell stories to people about the sexiest city in the world and be paid for it? I was born for this job. My life has been a training ground of preparation.

When I told my mother about it she laughed. "Only you," she said, "would find a job as a bicycle tour guide in New York City." Then she laughed again. louder this time and she held it there, prolonged and howling over the receiver, like a well-preserved note in a static-filled aria.

It never failed; at some point during every tour, as we passed the flatiron building, or stopped at a light in front of one of the pretzel vendors or halal stands, the smell of burnt popcorn piercing the air like ambulance sirens, sunlight splashing our faces as we climbed to the Brooklyn Bridge, I'd look around and think... Billie Holiday walked these streets, Miles, Thelonious, Coltrane. Bird lived right over there, number 151, across from the park. I couldn't believe I was getting paid to do this. It felt so decadent I figured I'd better share some of the wealth before I OD'd on it.

So I brought my friend, Ed Glazar, on board, an old school messenger and bike culture photographer, and he loved it just as much as I did. Salty old Ed, leading tourists around on bicycles and telling them about his city. Because that's how it feels. You're not just showing people New York, but your New York. The shy places, hidden off in a corner somewhere, or a lane, or alley. Private places that can only be explored by bike. It's addicting.

Midway through the season, after the one hundredth tourist or so asked if there were a bike guide they could purchase now that they knew the city a little bit so they could venture off on their own, and for the hundredth time we answered, "No," a light bulb went on.

We need to put out a guide book, we said. Not just a map of routes, but a NOT FOR TOURISTS meets HERE IS NEW YORK kind of guide book. A history of the city E.B. White style, only by bike, with photos and maps and resource info. A book that people will want to read as well as carry around in their backpacks.

We teamed up with blogger and filmmaker, Michael Green, and today I am psyched to announce that BIKE NYC—researched, written and photographed by Marci Blackman, Ed Glazar and Michael Green, published by Skyhorse Publishing—will hit stores April 2011.

And I need to put a big shout out to agent extraordinaire AMY TIPTON for making it all happen! Thank You!

Summer 2009

So as some of you already know this time last year I left New York to move to the servant's quarters of an old turn of the century mansion on a thousand acre nature preserve in southern Ohio (10 miles from where I grew up) to finally finish my second novel. Except for one other tenant who lived in the attic, WHAT'S UP MS FUDGE? and the raccoons who squatted in the chimneys and heating ducts, which ran like a maze through the entire house, the squirrels in the walls... the rest of the mansion was empty.

it had seven fireplaces.
my only transportation
my bare knuckle
single speed

The time
it takes

Three or four times a week I rode into town to resupply, buying only what I could stuff inside my backpack. And nearly every afternoon after my morning work session I put on my headphones, strapped on my iPod, jumped on my bicycle and embarked on my almost daily ritual of identifying deer carcasses and other nocturnal roadkill. The number of McCain-Palin vs. Obama-Biden signs I saw as I pedaled the back wooded roads of southern Ohio farm country.

Every morning
I woke
to wild turkeys
in my yard,
or chipmunks.
At night
coyotes howled
and fed on rabbits
that sounded like babies crying.
Raccoons mated
and fought
in the branches
of the tulip poplar trees outside my bedroom
window and tree frogs called and crickets sang
and owls hooted.

I am now back in New York in another kind of jungle, and Tradition, the new novel, is now on submission. Check back in a few to see what happens with it. In the meantime, click on the title under reviews/​excerpts at the top of the page for a teaser.