Wednesday, January 31, 2007

The Five Secrets of P

I've been tagged by Varian Johnson.

The rules: Each participant shares five little-known facts about themselves. Those tagged are asked to do the same as well as reiterate this guideline. All select five folks to be tagged and list their names. (Leave a comment letting them know that you've tagged them and that they may see your blog as an example.)

Okay, feeling very close to V now that he's walked the fem side and can empathize with us ladies...a little. (Still rolling, V. Still rolling!)

1. I suffer from verbal sanitation dysfunction. Now this is tricky. Because if you really know me...this, in reality, is a largely known fact (is that the opposite of little known?). But for those who only cyber know me...well, yes, P goes blue quite often. And it gets on my bleepin' nerves when some bleepin, bleep says that people who curse resort to doing so because they're not creative. You know what us sufferers of VSD say to that? Bleep that, BLEEP! Look, it's like using adverbs in your writing. Yes, you should use them sparingly and in only the most appropriate places. But sometimes an -ly word is the best bleepin' way to describe something. Well, sometimes saying "fudge" "frick" or "shoot" just won't cut it. Ya' gotta shout BLEEEEEPPP! to get it off your chest.

2. I am a frustrated dancer. I love watching and wish I could do Hip hop, Ballet and other variations of modern dance. I even took an adult ballet class about seven years ago. It was so much fun! Although, boy I'm pretty unflexible. I've had a love for dance since I was a little girl. I took ballet once, when I was about seven and still, to this day, recall that the dance instructor took one look at my body type and thought - Uhh...yeah, dance won't be your thing. I entered my daughter into ballet and tap when she was seven and she loved it. And I definitely lived vicariously through her for two years. I was crushed when she told me she wanted to stop. A year later she began competitive cheering. ::sigh:: I was a cheerleader most of my life. Cheering I know. And the fact that my daughter loves it is cool. But man, we could have gone places if she'd kept up with dance. I would so be a stage mom! "You want fame? Well, fame costs. And right here is where you start paying ... in sweat." How pathetic am I that I can still quote Debbie Allen from Fame?!

3. I've never not gotten something I set my mind to. Look, look people I know that's setting myself up for a huge disappointment one day. And believe me, this revelation is not meant as a brag. It's just fact. Once I get my mental claws into something, I will wrestle that baby to the ground until it submits. It's like I'm offended when challenged. I refuse to be refused. Some of the things I've wanted and accomplished once my mind was set:

- Cheerleading: didn't make my middle school squad in sixth grade. Rejection made me ill, literally. I had to go home early the day they posted results. Not only made the squad from 7th grade through my senior year but served as Captain two out of those six years. Take that rejection!

- Sorority: I was a complete idiot about pledging. I had no idea just how hard it was to get into a sorority until I was already there. I pledged as a freshman, a no-no on historically black campuses and a rarity on white ones. Seriously, I didn't know any better. I wanted to do it. Knew which sorority I wanted to pledge. Went for it, made it. Was Prez of the chapter by my sophmore year.

- Agency PR/Corporate PR: Got bored with nonprofit PR. I felt like my peers in the PR industry were leaving me behind. Set my mind on working for an agency. Did it. Realized that people in corporate PR think that people in Agency PR "know it all." Two years later, cashed in and sold my soul to the corporate devil. Cha-ching.

- Books: Everyone already knows this one.

As long as I use my longings for good and not evil, I think the world is safe from my over achieving.

4. I have lost 99% of my ability to relax. This is not a laughing matter. Despite #3, some days, I still feel like I'm not doing enough. My brain is in constant motion. New ideas pop up constantly. For every item I check off my "To Do" list, five more things present themselves. I'll be sitting watching TV and bam, I'll remember I need to balance the check book. Or fold clothes. Or jot down a book idea. Some weekends when me and the fam don't have any plans and I'm sitting on the couch vegetating, I go through anxiety attacks and bouts of guilt feeling like I should be doing something to accomplish my goals. Or getting more exercise. Or making the world a better place. I have no idea how to relax anymore. I was up at 4 a.m. today because I rolled over and my brain started thinking. And that was it for sleep. I tried rolling back over and ignoring my brain...but it didn't work. I try to relax. I really do. And some days I succeed. But it's an effort to simply sit still and do (or think about) absoultely, 100% nothing!

5. I'm a total softie. Being a Type A, go-getter, get things done type of gal usually equals someone with a very tough exterior. And I guess, my exterior is tough. If I need something done and I've asked someone else to help and they let me down - I just do it myself. Along the way, making a mental note not to bother to ask for help next time. I hate confrontation, it gives me anxiety attacks. But I won't back down from it. Still, I am a big old softie inside. This is something that even my closest friends might raise an eyebrow at. Then again, maybe they won't. I'm a loyal friend (even if I hate talking on the phone). I cry at sentimental moments on TV. I cry at cheer competitions, both when my girls do well or when they drop a stunt and I see the hurt on their faces. My co-coach mocks me outright for being so sappy. Me, sappy! The secret is, I am a sap. I just try not to show it too often.

Alrightie, now that I've bared my soul...I'm tagging:
Bev Katz Rosenbaum, Nova, Melissa Marr, Caridad and Laurel (girl, I can't find your blog link!!!).

Just my luck half the people I've tagged are in deadline hell.

1 Day til ARC Who Goes There? Contest

Oh my Gahd, it's like only like one day until the So Not The Drama ARC contest on Teens Read Too. Like, if you don't check it out you're so...not gnarly.

Oops, sorry. I had a serious Valley Girl flashback. The 80's are still living strong in my head. And what really got those old 80's memories simmering was seeing The Color Purple, yesterday. It came out in 1985.

One thing I'm starting to appreciate about period movies is, they don't age. Since the movie took place in the early 1900's, you look at it and the only way you know the movie wasn't just filmed a few years ago, is how young Whoopie Goldberg and Danny Glover look...oh and how fat Oprah was (no disrespect, O).

It's not like watching Fastimes at Ridgemont High, which for some inexplicable reason is being re-released on DVD. Now that movie, with its young Van-wearing Sean Penn and innocent Phoebe Cates, screams old. Still fun to watch. But will never have that classic aura of The Color Purple.

Well, now, since we're down to one day, my list is very short. So, today, I choose:
The Best Book To Movie

Drum roll please....

Uhh, yeah, it's The Color Purple.

Can't fool you people, can I?

1. The Color Purple (1985)

I read The Color Purple back in 1983, which would put me at an innocent, so sweet and cute thirteen years old. This says two things: 1) geez, I am old as dirt, right now and 2) I began reading "up" very early.

By the time I was thirteen my mom and I were reading the same books, sharing a love for V.C. Andrews, Alice Walker and Gloria Naylor.

It took watching the movie, again, to realize just how complex and rich Alice Walker made the characters of The Color Purple - which, by the way, has probably sold about a bazillion copies. Go Alice!

What I loved most about The Color Purple (the movie) was that Steven Spielberg came in and didn't change much at all. For a book lover, a good adaptation is nirvana. I believe The Color Purple (the movie) is the perfect storm of, great director, wonderful actors and a story that was so well and vividly written that the screen play was probably as easy as opening the book.

Spielberg may have even stayed too true to the book. There were a few times I winced because the dialogue, which probably flowed well when reading, came off a little cheesy on screen. Like when Squeak, Harpo's girlfriend played by Rae Dawn Chong, says, "You just a big ol' heifer. Ha, ha." And she literally says "Ha, ha."

That same line may have kept me reading to see how Oprah's character, Sophia, would react. But in the movie it took me out of the action for just a second because it sounded ridiculous coming out of Rae Dawn Chong's mouth.

Oh, another way I know Spielberg stayed very true to the book. There's a scene where Danny Glover is getting chewed out for having Shug Avery in his home. And the father says, "She's black as tar."

Well, Leslie Uggams, who plays Shug is not black as tar. She's more of a dark caramel.

Still, those are minor minor things. And only a lover of the book could pick them out, in the first place.

Hands down, The Color Purple, is the type of movie that should move you to read the book if you hadn't before seeing it. Ironically, it's also so well done, watching the movie is like reading the book.

Monday, January 29, 2007

10 Questions That Rock GCC Style: Tattoo

Today's tour features Jennifer Lynn Barnes, author of Golden and Tattoo. Jen's in merry ol' England, right now, but she's left Tattoo on U.S. bookshelves to keep us company in her absence. Well, okay she didn't literally walk around leaving them on book shelves, but you know what I mean.

Hey, Jen? Ready to kick it in the Clique lounge?

Let's roll!

TCL: If you could enter your MC into a MTV-style Celebrity
Deathmatch, what protagonist would you challenge and why?

JB: Wow. Bailey's enough like me that I'm not sure she would fare that
well in a Deathmatch. We're lovers, not fighters. Given that, I
should probably go for the protagonist I'd like on my team, and my
first instinct is to say either Morgan Carter from TRUE CONFESSIONS OF
by Lola Douglas (because I think she could do some
serious hair-pulling damage) or Cammie from I'D TELL YOU I LOVE YOU,
by Ally Carter. After all, who wouldn't
want a spy girl on her team?

TCL: Shoes say a lot about a person, what type of shoe are you?

JB: I'm probably a pair of sparkly flip flops- low maintenance, with just
the hint of a girly twist.

TCL: What type of writer are you: plot-driven or character-driven

JB: My books tend to be concept-heavy (ie "girl who sees auras deals with
high school cliques" or "four best friends get super powers from their
temporary tattoos"), so I'd probably be more toward the plot end of
things, but once I start writing, my characters tend to dictate the
direction the story takes more than anything else, as odd of a
combination as that might seem.

TCL: Word association time. What do you think when I say:

Chick-lit: Sweeeeeeeeet!
Best seller: I wish.
Best Band Ever: Does "nineties pop" count as a band?
Most rockin' author: Too many to name.

TCL: Name the Top 3 books on your To Be Read (TBR) List

JB: I've actually read a lot lately, so many of the books that used to be
on this list are now on the RIALI (read it and loved it) list. The
top three in my actual TBR pile are HERE, THERE BE DRAGONS by James A.Owen, IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY by Ned Vizzini, and SIZE FOURTEEN IS NOT FAT EITHER by Meg Cabot. I also really can't wait for WICKED LOVELY by Melissa Marr!

TCL: If you had anything to do with it, what would the next hot lit trend

JB: Based on what I read (as well as what I like to write), I'd love to
see more contemporary books with supernatural twists. I'm a huge fan
of blended genres, and I'm ready to read the supernatural version of
just about every YA trend. I'd pay big money to see someone who could
pull off a supernatural Sarah Dessen-type book.

TCL: What celeb would you love to see play your MC on the big or small
screen and why?

JB: Tattoo actually has four main characters, and I'd be lying if I said I
hadn't done some mental casting. I'd love Kristen Bell or Hayden
Panettiere for snarky, but protective tomboy Zo, because I think they
both do a completely awesome job on their current TV shows, and I
think that if she was younger, Sophia Bush would make a perfect Delia
(the authoritarian fashionista). My other two MC's are harder casts,
and I might actually go with an unknown for at least one of them.

TCL: Whether it's because you admire their work or adore them, who's your
author crush?

JB: Wow. Hard question! There are so many people in this industry I
admire and adore. At this point, I'm thinking Maureen Johnson. I
just finished DEVILISH, which I loved, and her blog is hilarious.

TCL: What TV show do you watch that you're ashamed to admit liking?

JB: This year, I'm not watching as much TV as usual, because I'm living
abroad, but the usual answer to that question is probably ONE TREE
HILL. It's the ultimate teenage over-the-top crazy prime time soap
opera. Just when I think they can't get any whackier, they do.

SSP: Tell the cliquesters why your book should be in their TBR list.

Tattoo is a book for people who like fantasy and for people who hate
it. It's about friendship more than anything else; the super powers
are just a bonus. So if you're a fan of the traveling pants books,
Buffy, Charmed, Meg Cabot, or the X-men, you should give it a try!

Saturday, January 27, 2007

5 Days til ARC Who Goes There? Contest on TRT

Only five more days before the So Not The Drama contest goes live on Teens Read Too.

Are you excited?

I am!

I keep hearing how anti-climatic release day can be for an author. Your book is out there and...nothing else changes. But in five days, for the first time, DRAMA will be available for ten lucky readers...not just to the team at my publisher who love it because they should, or reviewers who are still weighing in but for readers who, for better or worse, will have their say.


And because a countdown wouldn't be a countdown without a list, today I'm sharing my...
Top 5 Favorite Movies

Claudine (1974)- This classic but fairly dated movie (do young kids even know what being on welfare means anymore?) is top notch for the soundtrack alone! I love the sweetness of Diahann Carroll mixed with the gruffness of James Earl Jones - who had one hell of a body, by the way. I love that Carroll's character was the mother of all these kids but she still looked fresh and had a svelte figure, instead of the oftentimes bloated welfare mother some portray. I love that, in the end, they thumbed their nose at the man and chose to make it on their own as a family, believing that love would get them through (so Good Times!). Don't believe the hype that "black" movies didn't come into their own until Spike Lee arrived. Much respect due to Lee, but good movies with black leading roles have always been around.

Legends of the Fall(1994) - Ahhh Brad Pitt with long hair. Mmmmm....oh, sorry. Look, Aidan Quinn, you pompous intellectual ass, you were never going to win against Brad Pitt. The second any woman with eyeballs saw him galloping up on a horse with that long hair flowing behind him looking all rustic cowboy, any of your book schoolin' and fancy talk was lost, tangled in Brad's blonde tresses. Even in the mid-west, bootleggin'era ladies loved the rebel boys. This brother vs. brother tale is seriously one of my all time favorite movies. It's kind of icky that all three brothers loved the same, wait it's icky that she loved all three bros. Still, my favorite line? When Anthony Hopkins character, unable to speak due to a stroke, says in this gutteral grunt "Screw 'em." Now that thar is some good acting.

The Best Man (1999) - Maybe it's because the movie came out when I was still a 20-something with a shitload of friends getting married. Or, because the main character is a writer struggling with the issue of his fiction hitting too close to home. Or, because there's a young Terrance Howard in there playing a sleaze ball of a friend but who is very sexy when he plays that guitar held upside down. I don't know what it is, but The Best Man is my generation's "Big Chill" only without the funeral or all the Motown music. Okay, maybe it's not like the Big Chill at all. But an enjoyable way to spend 120 minutes for sure.

The Five Heartbeats(1991) - "Nights like this I wish...that raindrops would fall-alllll." This move is a little campy and the storyline is about as original as sliced bride. But ask me do I watch it everytime it comes on? Go on ask me....well, as a matter of fact I do! Confession, I tear up when Dresser (the baritone) says he has to quit because he got his girlfriend pregnant. And they all give them the money from their pocket to show they'll help support him, 'cause they're like brothers, man. ::sniff:: OOoh or when Diahann Carroll (yup, again) smacks the living spit out of Big Red when he has the nerve to show up to her husband's funeral. Dirty music moguls! Oh and then at the end, when they get back togeher at the cook out and Eddie says in this real raspy voice near tears, "Ya'll sure you want roll with ol' Eddie Kane." Okay, I tear up at that part too. It's all so corny. So call me a corn ball.

Winter People (1989)- What is with me and these period pieces? Did I have a previous life in the early 1900's or something? I dare you to watch and not love this flick with Kelly McGillis and Kurt Russell. It's easy to get caught up in the scenary and believe that you're living the simple life in the mountains of North Carolina. You might even get a hankerin' for some moonshine. Sorry bad boys, this movie is about the nice, quiet guy winning out.

I realize there are no new milleny movies in there at all. But I could only choose five and honestly, you know how I am about choosing favorites. It's stressful! I've left out a million movies. Still, I'll stand behind these five.

Mini milestones

One thing becoming a writer has done for me, taught me to celebrate the small victories. Nothing in writing happens in big chunks. Pretty much living hell for someone as impatient as me. But when a profession chooses you, you learn to adjust.

Not only do I appreciate every tiny step taken in my writing career, I've learned to rejoice in baby steps elsewhere in my life.

A battle I've fought for the last 12 years is the Battle of the bulge, specifically the one around my belly. I haven't had a nice flat tummy since the early 90's. The only "good" part of that is that I've been the exact same weight since that time. So at least I haven't gained anything.

Determined to tone it all, I'm always game for exercise. Though, truthfully, once a deadline hits exercise is the first thing cut from the sched. So I'm trying this new technique. I'm not gonna tell you what it is, because you'll laugh. Say I'm a nut case.

It's not a fad diet. I don't believe in them, diets that is. Fads are okay.

I like to eat. And I'll exercise double time before giving up what I like to eat.

It's probably not even new, as techniques go. As I think about it, my best friend in the 6th grade used to do this all the time and swore by it. And LL Cool J's trainer mentioned it in a short promo for LL's new fitness book.

So no, it's not new.

But I will say this - so far it's working.

I've lost an inch around the waist and hips since starting it last week.

In all fairness, the "technique" isn't the only thing I'm doing. I jog three times a week and I've tried to increase my water intake while reducing soda from the menu.

Any one of those things could be responsible for the shrinkage. But I think the technique definitely played a part.

Being a little superstitious, I'll keep up all those things and check in next week with my success. For now, time to celebrate losing just a little bit of me.

Low-fat chips anyone?

Friday, January 26, 2007


Watching Coach Carter with the fam, last night, and it reminded me how much I love me some ballers. BTW, why does spellcheck always try to make that word, "balers?" Anyway, there's plenty of reasons basketball is my favorite sport to watch:

- The pace of the game
- Intensity of the game
- Athleticism of the players

And while I like it for those things, I can't lie, I love the baller hotties most of all. Always have. I mean, since I was a kid. I remember crushing on high school ballers when I was only about nine or ten, hanging at the games with my parents. My dad was a local color analyst for the games. So I've been watching b-ball for ages.

In honor of all my dudes who love hitting the hardwood, here are P's favorite ballers of all time:

My hubby - He was my first real-life teen baller crush. Watching him run n' gun on our nabe's court and then later with our high school team started my hormones going. He was a point guard - agressive on the court, known to foul a mutha with the quickness. Thanks to him, point guards are my favorites because they've gotta be fast and they control the pace of the game. Don't you love a man in control of his rhythm? Ha!

Lorezno Charles - Oh yeah, I went old school on ya'll that time! Me and my girl, Nick, would watch college ball like some girls watched soaps. Our fave team was NC State. There was nothing like a Saturday watching the dynamic duo of Lorenzo Charles and Spud Webb (that was Nick's man). They were the Drake and Josh of basketball - Lorenzo was big and husky, Spudd short and lanky. Nevermind they were in college and we were all of 12 or 13, we loved us some Wolfpack!

Larry Johnson - Another big man. But it was LJ's swag - big ol' gold tooth wearing/UNLV going/Runnin' Rebel- that made him one of the baddest players ever to wear a dress. Remember grandma-ma? Even in drag, Larry was hella intimidating. I got to see him play in-person when UNLV played JMU...but I had a little too much of the drinky drink, that night, to remember much of the game.

Allen Iverson - I still remember the first time I saw Alley-I at a Georgetown University game. Dude was mad quick and scrappy was 100% the best word to describe him. His style reminded me of my hubby - so you know I was crushin' hard. Did you know he was an Arts major when he was at GU? I still love me some, A.I., one of the best little men in the game. Philly gets the gas face for dogging him out the way they did.

Robert Pack - Man, I was so mad when the Wizards traded Pack-man. He left the league in '05 after being cut from Toronto. He was a bad dude, though - a solid support player. The Wizards always have made whack player personnel decisions.

Speaking of the Wizards...

Chris Webber - Me and the Wizards parted ways when they got rid of my man, Chris. Another one I followed from his college days. Leader of Michigan's Fab Five, sexy, sexy, C-Webb. Yeah, his knees are bad and he should probably retire, but you try to resist him when he flashes those pearly whites. Whew!

Carmello Anthony - Now that the ballers are young enough to be my...little brothers, I pay more attention to their game then their sexi factor. Still, Mello's a cutie with a tight game just like I used to like 'em.

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Snowy...sort of

The weather is freaking me out.

One minute, the clouds are dark, heavy and letting loose with fat flurries of snow. The next, the sun is shining, the clouds have disappeared and the snow is nothing more than glistening moisture on the streets.


It's back to fat flurries. For now, at least.

If we get one good snow storm a winter, I'm fine with that. But this winter has been mostly warm (scary) and the little bit of snow we had last Sunday was just enough to be a nuisance once the temps dropped to the 20's.

I predict that it will remain a semi-warm winter with no precip until March 10th, the night I'm having my book release.

Oh yeah, on March 10th the heavens will open and dump about two feet of snow on us.

I don't think this because I believe the world revolves around me (it doesn't?) but because I'm that anxious and insecure about the weather for the one day I DON'T want it to snow.

And you know how that is. Whatever you don't want is usually what you get.

So, okay, for the karmic gods listening - I DON'T want to be a millionaire.


That outta do it.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Premiering on PBS: Hip Hop...Beyond Beats & Rhymes

The thought of me bumpin' Hip Hop when I'm in my 50's or 60's makes me giggle. It seems so ridiculous. And doesn't.

I'm in my 30's and I still bump it as hard as I did when I was a teen. I don't like ALL Hip Hop, but then who likes all of any genre?

Just like people who were teens/kids when rock and roll was young, I grew up with Hip Hop. Hip Hop grew up with me.

I think it will always be a part of me.

I'm always fascinated with Hip Hop documentaries. Sometimes, hearing about the culture's origins is like watching old home movies.

But, better than a home movie, many Hip Hop docs go beyond the music to explore the fashion, flavor, message and impact of the culture.

One in particular, Hip Hop...Beyond Beats and Rhymes made a buzz at Sundance and will be premiere on PBS,February 20th.

Check the trailer.

Love Hip Hop?

Watch it.

Hate Hip Hop?

Watch it.

No idea what Hip Hop is?

Seriously? It's 2007. Quick, get a television and a radio. Or have you not heard of those either?

Juuuust jokes, people.

Below is a portion of a message from Byron Hurt, the movie's Director/Producer.

From jump, my vision was to make a smart, engaging, bold, and entertaining film that critically examined the representations of manhood in mainstream hip-hop culture, and to reveal how corporate media packages and sells limited visions of black and Latino manhood to the world. I made this film from my perspective: a long-time Hip-Hop head and anti-sexist activist. I also made the film with the truest Hip-Hop head in mind.

Peter Howell from The Toronto Star said, “… this film needs to be seen by the largest audience possible.” I agree. But I want the people who need to see this film the most - Hip-Hop heads – and more specifically, Hip-Hop heads of color – to watch this film when it airs on PBS.

Now, I need your help. From the time I learned that PBS would air the film, my goal has been to bring the largest audience of color – and a huge Hip-Hop audience - to PBS Tuesday, February 20, 2007. Please help me reach my goal by forwarding this email letter to everyone you know who loves Hip-Hop. Let them know about the national broadcast, which will air on Independent Lens one-time only: February 20 at 10 pm! Oh, by the way, it’s free! If you have a television, then you have PBS

I appreciate your taking the time to read this. If you need more information about the film, please visit If you are a member of the media and have questions, please contact April Silver of AKILA WORKSONGS Public Relations at or call 718.756.8501.

Hip Hop...Beyond Beats and Rhymes
Official Selection: 2006 Sundance Film Festival
Winner: 2006 San Francisco Black Film Festival, Best Documentary
Winner: 2006 Roxbury Film Festival, Audience Award

Monday, January 22, 2007

Oscars Schmoscars...It's ALA Season

Yeah, yeah Hollywood, glamour, and red carpets is what January through February is all about as the Globes, SAG Awards and Oscars take front and center.

It's very easy for a writer to become quite bitter. Yes, yes we chose the solitary work of storytelling. And you know going in that it's all very behind the scenes. Still, what does it take for for us to get a little E! action?

ALA to the rescue.

It's not glitzy. And if there were a red carpet the announcers would proably spend a lot of time wondering which author was who, unless of course they used librarians as the Red Carpet Commentators.

Hmm...not a bad idea.

Thing is, I'll never win an Oscar (for certain). The ALA awards are all I've/us writers got and that's hypothetically speaking for many of us.

So...the envelope please.

MOSES (Illustrator winner)









No author writes a book with the primary goal of getting an ALA award. Just as I suspect few actors act simply for an Oscar and few musicians sing, just to get a Grammy. But doesn't it do your heart good to know that every year there's a group of people squirrled away in a small room, ordering take out and bickering over the merits of your literary prowess?

It's the American way.

Kind of gets ya' right where you live...the ol' ego.

Write on.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Countdown to...ARC Who Goes There? Contest

In ten days, Teens Read Too will launch a contest for So Not The Drama.

Ten lucky readers will get an advanced copy before DRAMA officially hits shevles at the end of February.

What's cool about TRT is how easy it is to enter the contest. Just:

Send your name, mailing address, and
email address to

That's it. Which is why they're doing it instead of me.

You know me. I would have made up a few rules like...tell me your ten favorite high school diva's - in honor of So Not The Drama's Teen Queen character, Jessica.

Or, maybe I would have said list your fave teen "princesses," in honor of my MC, Mina.

I don't know. But it's safe to say it would have probably involved the number ten, a little bit of leg work and some convoluted doings on the contestants part.

But Jen over at TRT is all - dude, just send me your name and I'll pick one at random.

::waving to Jen::

Well, since I'm not allowed to do any of that I'm forced to countdown. Because daggone it, somewhere along the way someone's going to share 10 somethings. So, it may as well be me.

As we wait...

Ten TV Shows Worth Mentioning

The Hills - The internships are more glam than I remember internships being, the girls drive high-end cars and everybody's too fuggin' skinny. BUT when the West Coast Editor of TeenVogue said, "So, Lauren you decided NOT to go to Paris to be with your boyfriend. How did that work out for you?" in this smart ass tone, it shot the show from my "might watch list" to Tune in next week, list.

The Apprentice - I like the new changes: The PM stays in place unless the team loses. Losing team sleeps outside. PM sits in on board room. Subtle but just enough to drive the contestants over the edge earlier. Not really loving the move to LA though.

Split Ends - I caught this Friday night, on Oxygen I think. A stylist from a high end salon switches places with a "Local" hair stylists. Yeah, I know. I hear that loud ringing of the reality TV death knoll too. But ya know, it wasn't that bad.

Man vs. Wild - One day he bit into a dead zebra carcass. Once he peed all over this rag and tied it on his head to keep cool in the heat. Another time he stripped down butter buck bald naked and jumped into a frozen lake to teach "us" how to survive the ordeal. What? You aren't watching yet?!

Dancelife - Confession, I have a frustrated dancer pent up inside of me. At a party I'm doing the "same ol' two step" as Fifty said in his song. That's all you need to get your party on. But I've always admired dancers - from ballerinas to today's hip hop groovers and their impossible contortions. So it was a no brainer that I'd watch this.

Medium - I hate that they've moved this show to Wednesday. Not only do I keep forgetting it's on, but my Wednesdays were already spoken for. Yet, when I remember to tune in, I'm reminded what a good sci-fi/procedural type show is about. Makes me miss X-Files before it jumped the shark all those years ago.

30 Rock - Four words: Hi-lar-i-ous! I swear, Alec Baldwin became laugh outloud funny overnight. Tracey Morgan is just insane. Tina Fey plays a good straight woman. And besides, any show that gives writers some love, I love. Which brings me to...

Studio 60 - Admitedly, I haven't tuned in regularly. But I (mostly) enjoy it when I watch. I'm on the fence about making it one of my must-sees.

Lost - First two seasons, I had a strategy. Watch the first two episodes and the last two. It worked for me. I loved it. So what happens? I go against my strategy for the third season and decide to watch all six episodes or whatever ridiculous number they bothered to show this Fall. Bad idea! The eps sucked. Likely I'll only watch the last two eps when it returns next month.

Cold Case/Without A Trace/CSI/Law & Order: Criminal Intent - Okay, okay I'm cheating by lumping them all into one. But let's face it, they're all crime procedurals. Cold Case and Without A Trace have such similiar casting that I often confuse them. Despite having a formulaic style that makes it easy to drop in and out when I want, these are among my favorite shows to watch. If I had to choose one, it would be Law & Order: CI. It's the closest of the L&O's to the original when the original was in fighting form.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

It's A Girls Life

Yes, I am one of those people who dresses her youngest child in lots of pink.

Yes, I adore anything that's teeny (cell phones, Mp3 players, mini skirts).

Yes, I still induldge in conversations about crushes, cuties and what's cool.

I'm a girl, for goodness sakes. There are some things that are inherently girly. I'm not saying these things are what makes a girl. But, they're certainly some of the things we enjoy way more than guys do.

Most definitely, So Not The Drama showcases all my girliness and are for all those who are girly at heart when it comes to their friendhips.

So it's more than perfect that there would be an ad for So Not The Drama in the February/March issue of
Girls Life.

Not only was I a regular contributor to Girls Life up until about a year ago (only on occasion nowadays), and love it's flavah, but the magazine's readers are the exact type of young readers I'd love to love DRAMA.

So check out the Feb/March issue of GL and then flip until you see the ad ::cough, cough:: page27.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

10 Questions That Rock: GCC Style

We interrupt my normally scheduled rant to present the first GCC tour of '07.

I'm honored to be touring with the Girlfriend Cyber Circuit (GCC). It's a reminder that the web and blogs really were created for good (and not anon evil) when people get together to spread positivity.

Think you might want to be a part?

Attention published female authors: The Girlfriend Cyber Circuit is now adding candidates to our waitlist. If you’d like to be added, please email:

Today, Melissa Senate, author of Love You To Death joins us in The Clique Lounge (TCL). I don't think Melissa knows what she's gotten herself into, kicking it with us her in the lounge. Shh, don't tell her.

TCL: If you could enter your MC into a MTV-style Celebrity Deathmatch, what protagonist would you challenge and why?

Abby would challenge that jerk, Wickham, from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. Wickham is one of the original bad boyfriends! She would knock him out in the first round, too.

TCL: Shoes say a lot about a person, what type of shoe are you?

I like sexy boots with a heel you can still walk in. Maine, where I live, is not sexy boot territory, but I still have a collection.

TCL: What type of writer are you: plot-driven or character-driven?

A combo of both!

TCL: Word association time. What do you think when I say:

Chick-lit: Fun

Best seller: Jennifer Weiner

Best Band Ever: Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band

Most rockin’ author: I'm pretty crazy about Jennifer Crusie right now

TCL: Name the Top 3 books on your To Be Read (TBR) List

Rise and Shine by Anna Quindlen
Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn
Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

TCL: If you had anything to do with it, what would the next hot lit trend be?

Label-free books! Books that are just what they are!
Note: TCL says amen to that

TCL: What celeb would you love to see play your MC on the big or small screen and why?

My favorite actress, Mary Louise Parker, who I've loved since Fried Green Tomatos. But I must say, I see Katie Holmes (minus Tom) when I picture Abby Foote.

TCL: Whether it’s because you admire their work or adore them, who’s your author crush?

Sarah Dessen! Her books are exceptional and beautifully, thoughtfully written, with such complexity and depth. And from reading her blog, she is one nice person too.

TCL: What TV show do you watch that you’re ashamed to admit liking?

I must admit that I still watch Degrassi High and have for at least ten or fifteen years or however long it's been on! I started watching when Joey and Snake and Caitlin were the junior high schoolers, and now they're the parents/teachers. Such a good show! I even once subscribed to the Degrassi newspaper.

Shameless Self Promotion (SSP): Tell the cliquesters why the chance to read your book is among the top ten reasons for young readers to look ahead to reading up:

Imagine that any guy who broke up with you in a really mean way was on someone's hit list! That's what happens to Abby Foote, whose worst ex-boyfriends are suddenly the victims of very foul play. And everyone, including a very cute police detective, thinks Abby is seeking revenge! So is someone trying to frame her? Or is someone trying to do her some kind of warped favor? LOVE YOU TO DEATH is a lighthearted, fun mystery.

Thanks, Melissa for rolling through the Lounge!

Monday, January 15, 2007

Ready, Set...Read

I was feeling bad about crossing over from reader to hoarder. It wasn't sitting well with me. So, I took my three-day weekend and read...and read and read and read.

I finished Story of a Girl (Saturday), Uglies(Sunday and Monday) and, I was a Teenage Popsicle (Monday).

No, I didn't rush the reading.

No, I wasn't doing it just to say I finished them.

Yes, it will likely be months before I get this kind of time again.

Here's the thing - I read fast.

And plffttt to all those who think fast readers don't absorb the details and story. I can't help that I read fast. I just do. Also, as I mentioned in my last post, I'm one of those people who will basically put off everything except breathing to read a good book.

The kids could be out wandering the streets naked. If a book is good, all I may do is glance up and tell them to throw on a jacket.

Normally, unless I'm reading late into the night I don't get much time to enjoy reading. Note I didn't say, I don't get time to read. I can make time if I want. There's always giving up sleep or watching television or whatever.

But reading is a luxury. I want to enjoy it like a person enjoys a long, hot bath. Not rush through it like a quickie shower.

What's different, lately, is that all of the Hymans have been directed...wait, did I say directed? I meant, encouraged to read mom's book before it hits shelves. So both the hubster and Princess A are reading the book, which gives me time to read, as well.

It's been a great week in the house having everyone read together.

Even Princess Bea is in on the act. I bought her a new Spongebob book. So she's been reading that all weekend.

With no plans for the weekend, I made reading my plans and enjoyed every single second of it.

I'd love to read every day. And my assumption is, once Princess Bea is a little older, I'll once again find more time for reading and other things I take pleasure.

Until then, my resolutions (better late than never)are to stop hoarding so much. I still have '06 books to finish. And to squeeze in more reading, even if it means more marathon weekends.

Confessions of a Hoar...der

I don't know when it happened.

I used to be a voracious reader who prided herself on finishing every book I started. Even after having my oldest daughter, I still managed to read a book a month, if not more.

As a matter-of-fact, I remember how sweet Sundays were. Me reading all day, Princess A drawing or playing nearby, the hubster watching, fill-in-some-sport.

Life was good.

But somewhere between becoming a writer and having my youngest daughter, I went from constant reader to grade A hoarder.

It's a serious problem.

Part of it's lack of time. I know that's lamer than lame, but it's the truth.

Another issue, dinero or rather lack of it. I'm meeting so many great authors. Even if I had the sort of time I used to five years ago, my wallet can't withstand the number of good books at my fingertips.

I still buy plenty of books. But I'm reading less then ever before. Worse, I'm starting the books, but few get finished if I don't read them in one sitting.

Finishing them in one sitting isn't an issue. It's usually how I read a book. I'm one of those people who gets completely engrossed and hates to put it down. So on a good, long Saturday or Sunday with few interruptions - finishing an entire book (no matter the length) is really not a feat at all.

It's finding that good long Saturday or Sunday with few interruptions that's near impossible. Think needle in a haystack.

The result - a lot of unfinished books!

Don't ask why I start a new one instead of finishing the one I started - that's part of the hoarding sickness, I guess.

There's, I was a Teenage Popsicle, sitting atop my desk.

Now and Zen, sitting next to it.

Drama High waiting in the wings.

The Salem Witch Tryouts - which has gone MIA, victim to one of the hubsters massive clean ups. I have a sneaky suspicion it's in the downstairs coat closet.

And, Golden, which I started right before my last set of edits and have yet to get back to.

Some of the hottest books of '06 await my attention. I mean, some of them I've had since summer! So, what did I go and do Saturday?

Yup. I went and bought more!

I picked up Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr and, because I can no longer resist the ravings about it, Scott Westerfield's Uglies.

Here's what I've learned about myself, recently...

I love going to the bookstore. I love being around books and around people who like books.

It's near impossible for me to pick up only ONE book, each time I go...thus, one of the reasons the books are piling up.

Note to self, consider really only getting one. The reward for finishing - ding,ding,ding,ding,ding - another one!

When I'm working on a manuscript I cannot read YA fiction. Ummm, yeah, that's a problem since writing is ahh, my job! But when I find time to read at all while deep on a project, pretty rare, that's when I squeeze in my adult fiction faves.

I'm becoming overwhelmed with my choices. Used to be I kept to my horror, suspense, true crime and detective novels. Broadening my horizons has led to some great finds. Still, I need a better system.

First let me say, the thought of requiring a system to ensure I a) don't go broke buying so many great books and b) actually read the ones I purchase, freaks me the hell out.

Reading is about escape. I have enough fuggin' systems to help keep my life in semi-order. I do not want one for the one luxury I've always cherished.


Sunday, January 14, 2007

Bring that beat back!

If you've read my blog for any amount of time, you know that I love music. All types.

Well, I tend to choose a poppy band, annually, to obsess over.

Two years ago, it was Maroon 5. Where are they, by the way?

Anyway, since last summer it's been Fall Out Boy. And their new single, This Ain't A Scene, It's an Arms Race it!

Now see, the hubster and my boy, D, are gonna be all like - why are you all into these white boys, power to the people, down with pop music.

But I know my girl, Le, knows where I'm coming from. She and I enjoy a good pop tune.

And you know, me having to explain why I like a song is like explaining why you fall in love with someone. You can't explain why a song touches something in you. And you shouldn't have to, anyway. It's music for fugs sake.

I highly recommend checking out the live AOL Session of This Ain't A Scene. But then watch the video, because they use a gospel choir at one point. Really gives you a different perspective on the song.

I like both.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Step Onto My Yard

Stomp the Yard hit theatres, yesterday.

This article is the most thorough summary of the movie, I've seen to date.

I would say I'm going to see it. But I said the same thing about Dreamgirls and haven't seen it yet. My broken promises aren't from lack of desire. We're just not big moviegoers, preferring to catch them on DVD.

Still, sight unseen, I applaud Stomp The Yard because it's a movie about young black youth and it's not revolved around fighting, guns, gangs, or the played out theory of street cred. On the contrary, Stomp, is about black college life.

The last movie about black college life was Drumline (2002) and before that, I swear it was John Singleton's, Higher Learning (1995). Of course, before that was the King of black college life movies, Spike Lee's School Daze (1988).

So about every 7-10 years, we're reminded that there is such a thing as the black college experience.

But I need to correct something I keep seeing mentioned with Stomp. Stepping is not something only done on historically black campuses. Stepping is something that comes with Black Greek life, campuses worldwide.

I pledged Alpha Kappa Alpha at James Madison University. We stepped, as did our sorors at UVA, George Mason and every other white school in Virginia that had a chapter. And despite the dwindling African American student population at JMU, black greek organizations are still kicking there. And last I stopped through (homecoming '06) were still stepping.

I just want the history straight.

For the record, the black college experience is less about attending an HBCU vs. Not. But just being black in college, period.

And here's something else, I haven't heard any article mention that black greek organziations are SERVICE organizations, not social as many white greek organizations are. Small but important fact.

Stepping, while part of the bonding experience is only ONE aspect of black greek life. Our organizations do not exist to form a step team, they exist to implement education and human service programs in the communities which their campus is located.

That distinct difference between social and service, is why members of black greeks often retain their allegiance well beyond their four year college tour. Many go on to join graduate chapters and remain active in their communities.

Okay, okay history lesson over.

Stomp The Yard is a welcome partner in the effort to explain Black Greekdom. As long as it portrays the students having aspirations beyond stepping and partying, then I'd say it's pretty realistic.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Pop Life Friday

It should be against the law for a person to be busy at work on a Friday. Alas, I am. Even have a meeting to run to. So, I'm too busy to blog (meaningfully) today.

But I'm never too busy to immerse myself in my favorite pop culture obsessions. Today it's music videos. So loving AOL Music, today!

Since I'm feeling a little Pop(py,)I'm only listening to music that is 100%, fun, fluffy pop. No heavy ballads or smooth jazz. So far it's been a Fall Out Boy/B2K kind of day.

F.O.B. reminds me of bands from the 80's. I love their new song, This Ain't A Scene But a Arms Race.

Man, screw Grammy's and pleasing the academy, the world just needs more catchy dance tunes and anthems. This Ain't A Scene is a great let's-be-pissed-off-at-something-and-send-a message anthem.

Screw the establishment!

Ahem, sorry. Got caught up.

As for B2K, my daughter was in love with them three years ago along with every other female under the age of 18 and some well over. (Don't lie ladies, you know you were shaking to Bump, Bump, Bump. They were some yummy young 'uns).

They reminded me of New Edition. And I thoroughly encouraged my daughter's first boy band crush. How fun is that experience?

I even threw her a B2K Has Broken Up party to mourn the group's split. Me, her and seven of her closest girlfriends went to see B2K's movie,You Got Served, to pay homage to the short-lived group's success.

Ahh...pop music. Makes you feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

But, now back to work!

Monday, January 08, 2007

All's Fair in Love and Book Reviews

Okay, I don't really understand what that phrase "all's fair in love and war" means.

War involves death and that ain't fair.

Love sometimes involves heartache. What's so fair about that?!

However, the cliche is apropos for book reviews. Think about it, once a book enters the lit world anything can happen. People can love it. Hate it. Love to hate it. Or ignore it. And it's fair because it's their money they're spending. And, let's face it, us authors asked for it the second we signed the dotted line and said -Take this text, go forth and make thou some moola.

That's right, we can't want our books out there for consumption then balk at those who don't praise it.

It's my turn on the blazing red seat of scrutiny.

So Not The Drama has officially entered the world on its own. The reviews are beginning to roll in...wait, that sounds like I've gotten a ton. Seep in. Reviews are beginning to seep in.

I'm not sure I'm supposed to reveal this or what. So erring on the side of caution, I'll say it's from a very respectable reviewer and that it was a very balanced review.

Sure, I'm not feeling all warm and fuzzy about the balanced side that's somewhat neg. But, I can totally respect a review that says - well this part I liked and this part, not so much.

I'll admit, reading the not so great part was like getting punched in the gut. I had the exact same feeling as I did when I didn't make the cheer squad my seventh grade year in middle school.

But, this time, I had the good part of the review to ease the pain. When I didn't make the squad, I had to wait a whole year to try-out again. Felt like the end of the world. I called my mom, had her pick me up early from school and spent the rest of the day in bed.

Yes, I've been a Drama Queen for a long time. So sue me.

The good news was, I made the squad the next year and every year after that through the end of high school.

If by some strange serendipity woven throughout the universe, my not making the middle school team a million years ago is connected to my first review, I guess everything's gonna be alright.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

Climbing Mt. Killanocontract

First, I thought it was my muse playing games.

She'd been on vacation or something because my head hadn't been 100% focused on writing since right before Thanksgiving. Not that I hadn't attempted, but I couldn't seem to buckle down.

After a little soul searching, I realized that it's not that I'm uninspired. I'm unmotivated and somewhat unwilling to climb Mt. Killanocontract - that steep incline of writing novel after novel purely for the creative release. Maybe you'll sell it one day. Maybe you won't.

Don't get me wrong. Usually inspiration carries me through. I've written several manuscripts on I-juice alone!

But, after finishing first draft re-writes on TWISTED, I found it hard to kickstart my motor and do what I needed to do on my third manuscript, which is not under contract and totally unrelated to the DRB Clique series.

Maybe it's burn out from the three-year grind I was on trying to get my manuscript agented and then acquired. I was a mad writing dervish, non-stop. And it paid off!

Or, maybe it's a new realization that there's another way to sell novels besides writing them full out and hoping someone will buy them.

Or perhaps I'm just a greedy capitalist. But I enjoy getting paid to write and I'm finding it hard to pour the amount of time necessary into an uncontracted novel.

I'm not proud of this. It goes against the grain of my true feelings for writing. I loved doing it before I got paid to do it and I love it still.

Hands down, it's the first job I've had unconditional love for.

But I'd be lying if I said I felt bad about preferring to work under contract.

(Wo)man cannot live on love alone.

Truth is, my love and passion for writing isn't always able to conquer the fatigue that comes from holding two full-time jobs, and spending the time and attention needed to nurture my family.

Even when I want to, I don't always have the time or energy to sit in my office and riff with my muse.

So many days I've said, "Okay once everyone goes to bed, I'm going to get in there and..."

But by the time I get the girls settled and the hubster off to bed, I'm tired. And either I'm ready to crawl in bed too or I'm ready for some good ol' mindless TV time (i.e. alone time).

Plus, I've always had this insatiable need to work smarter, not harder.

It isn't that I can't hold my regular FTJ and write. I've been doing that for three years.

From August right up until Thanksgiving I was burning the midnight oil on DRAMA edits and TWISTED re-writes.

I never had a problem getting into the office, no matter how full my day had been. I'd be up late, wired. Normally I had to force myself to bed.

But once I turned in both, the pilot light blew out on my motivation.

I guess I'm a little slow. But I realized that I enjoyed working on projects that were a sure thing. It was like tasting a forbidden nectar.

Now, I'm finding it a challenge to go back to the "other side."

I'm not saying that I'll never write another word until someone pays me. But the thought of writing novel after novel with no notion if they'll ever be acquired, wreaks havoc with my motivation.

Would I feel differently if writing were my sole job? Not sure.


All I know is, now, going into my office after a full day to work on a project that may or may not see the light of day in the publishing world...feels like a chore.

With the work under contract, the knowledge that I have a deadline (imposed by someone else) and am fixing the mss based on my editor's insight are great motivators.

Having a clear direction defined by a person who has a vested (financial and otherwise) interest in the novel is, apparently, the best motivation for me.

Not to mention, writing under an editor's direction is much more productive than my own scatter-brained attempts at "fixing" holes in a mss, which can sometimes be akin to a dog chasing its tail.

As long as I still have to punch the clock at another job, writing under contract is a smart way to work.

Without a contract...I'm fairly certain that keeping my FTJ while trying to churn out new (good) work is my Everest.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

New York Loves Them Thugs

Let me say this, right off the top: I think New York (Flavor of Love) is an over the top Drama Queen with a skank attitude. In other words, she's the perfect person to pull off the trashy, no-holds barred shows that VH1 is quickly becoming known for.

Ahhh...for the days when you could catch a good old-school vidjo on VH1.

Oh well, times change, right? And either change with them or become a dinosaur.

So I'm peepin' the sneak preview of I Love New York (mind you I'm disgusted the entire time I watch, ha ha)and my first thought is - Where in the hell did they find these dudes?

I swear, these are 20 of the most ordinary, men ever.

T-Bone, who New York called "greasy" is a head scratcher. In a confessional she cracked on his comment that ladies say he has dreamy eyes (yeah, okay!). Were the producers like, Hey, let's pick a guy who doesn't have a snow ball's chance in hell of making it past the first night.

Bonz, who seems like a nice enough dude and damn near gorgeous compared to some of the other contestants, bored New York out the gate. As soon as he said he was "god fearing" and started quoting scripture you could hear the little voice in NY's head hollering, NEXT!

T-Weed (and I have no fuggin idea what that nickname means)had New York's momma salivating. I have no idea why. He looked like a five cent pimp. But Momma said, "He dresses nice and has money." Ummm...alright. I guess he dresses like that to throw you off track.

Geez, where are the hotties?

Oh men do NOT want New York. So the mere existence of this show reinforces the cliche there is someone for everyone. The producers of I Love NY went out of their way to keep this real.

No plastic surgery, artificial abs male models here.

Okay, so now that we've gotten that out of the way...New York's ability to carry a show on her own is going to be interesting, to say the least. When she's not ranting, raving and bullying these guys she has little to offer in the way of intelligent or even interesting insight.

A few New Yorkism jewels:

"Chance is a real thug. He's dangerous...baggy clothes...drinks alot, I like that."

"Pootie's got a few screws loose...but that's okay."

"I'm feeling the f*$#% outta you."

"Well, I'm not from Latin."


Based on New York's low standards, she didn't have to go on a reality show to find some broke down, crazy ass thug. It's plenty of 'em available in every city.

But then where would the fun in that be?

Another, WTH, issue...a few of the guys who did have a little in the looks department (and by looks I mean half-way decent physically in the face or body and/or dressed well) seemed gay.

New York's mom picked up on that, as well. So I'm not alone wondering what's up with that.

Maybe they're there to hook up with Chamo, NY's giddy-gay assistant and personal stylist.

New York's momma can be straight ignorant sometimes. But her disdain for Chance, the thug New York immediately fell for, is gold. Pure Reality TV Gold! She called dude a "freakin' big mouth punk" and blew smoke in his face.

Go momma!!!

Sadly, I'm sure he'll end up in the Top five because NY was practically creaming herself the second he opened his mouth.

Sorry momma.

I Love New York is everything trashy TV should be: loud, wrong and raw. Granted, I won't be juggling anything to watch it. But if I run across it and nothing else is on, I'll tune in. Nothing wrong with rubber necking at a good train wreck as long as noone gets hurt.

Ooh which, by the way, didja watch Dirt last night? Courtney Cox's new show.

Parts of it felt contrived as all hell (Lucy's one nighter, blackmailing the young hungry actor for juicy celeb dirt, and Lucy firing a staffer for calling her a bitch via text), still, not a bad way to spend a hour. I'm curious if the storylines will get a tad more believable.

Then again, what do I know? I'm about as far out of the Hollywood loop as you can get. For all I know the portrayal could be dead on. Still, my gut says if they don't tighten up the storylines and characterization they'll lose people...probably to something mindless and (just barely)less contrived like I Love New York.