Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Del Rio Bay Blog Tour

It's funny. I've heard different sides of what life's like writing adult fiction. On some accounts, I hear adult authors are "much more" supportive of one another, helping one another to push books into hands of readers. And then on the direct flip side, I hear that they're really not close or connected at all.

I'm sure there's truth in both sides.

But let me say this, in the children's writing community, it's all love. That's been my experience from the moment I joined the Yahoo Chick Lit Group (now the Teen Lit Group) to the day Varian Johnson, Kelly Starling Lyons, Don Tate and Carla Sarratt and I decided to launch The Brown Bookshelf. I've had nothing but positive experiences.

The community is close, eager to spread the word about new work, encouraging when you're having a bad writing day and simply a huge shoulder to lean on during the tough and often lonely times. True enough, some days I've got to pull myself totally out so I can focus more on writing. But if I had to decide - go it totally alone so I wouldn't have the distraction of socializing vs. having a cadre of writing buds to call on - it's a no brainer.

I'm still deep in the hole writing and I don't know how long I'll be there. But before I disappeared-ish, I called on some of those friends and asked them to host my blog tour. I wanted to do a big push of the series now that all five books are out. And even though every person I called on was busy promoting and/or writing, they all said yes.

Check me (and them) out:

Chicklit Gurrl - Shon Bacon goes above and beyond the call and makes a trailer for the DRB series! *mwah*

Musings of A Novelista - Karen Strong asks me about the importance of authors having a web presence and why it matters to label my work "multi-culti."

Devyn Burton - Devyn hosts me and makes me feel all edgy and stuff.

Rawsistaz - I have a great talk with the Rawsistaz lit group about their thoughts on the series.

Linda Gerber - I'm Gerb's Freebie Friday feature. Hey, say that fast five times!

Melissa Walker and Readergirlz - I'm double-booked at Melissa Walker's and Readergirlz talking about the story behind my covers. Ever wondered why I have both graphic and photo covers? I spill...

Mitali's Fire Escape - Mitali and I talk about how I was as a teen and whether or not I'd write a boy protag or one who isn't African American.

YA Fresh - Kelly Parra and Tina Ferraro's blog is the place to find the freshest YA and I was lucky to be a catch of the day for the tour.

- Color Online is all about strong women writers. They make me put my thinking cap on and talk about who/what made me the writer I am today.

APOOO Books - Hopefully, APOOO can still squeeze me in. I turned in my interview answers late. But check out the site, anyway. It's chock full of literary goodness.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Real Teen Talk: Landsdowne PL

*waves* Hi ladies! I'm posting this hoping you won't notice it's late but probably do. Sorry!

I had a great time with you, the other day, during my first live Real Teen Talk. It's visits like this that remind me why I enjoy writing for teens.

For everyone else who doesn't know what I'm talking about - I visited the Landsdowne Public Library and had the pleasure of meeting several young readers. And because I love torturing, er spreading the joy of writing to others, I did what I always do on these visits - gave them a tough writing assignment with an ungodly deadline. The ladies were tasked with writing an advice column solving an issue straight out of one of the Del Rio Bay books. Their deadline? Fifteen minutes.

The winning entry gets the spotlight here.

Ladies, just so you know, my mom thought everybody should be a winner. And that's a very mom thing to say, isn't it?

But P's a hardcore competitive person. A for effort for everyone participating. Love that! But I've gotta give the top spot to...

Rena Crandell

The problems they solved weren't easy and they only had fifteen minutes to create a magazine-type advice column to share their wisdom.

In the game of Real Teen Talk there is no judgement, just an opportunity for teens to say how they might help one another through an issue. No easy task. All the ladies were great sports and took on the task willingly. And special kudos to their Librarian who took a shot at the task and tore it up! Her entry was great.

Still, I promised a winner and Rena's it. Read on...

Caught Up!

[The PROBLEM]Dear Real Teen Talk,
My boyfriend saw me talking to another guy and got jealous. As I was trying to explain he smacked me. He apologized right after. He's never hit me before and I believe that he's sorry but people say if he hits you once it'll happen again. Do I give him another chance?

Step To Him
Go up to him and tell him that he really hurt your feelings and that he should handle things more maturely.

We're done-ish
Leave him alone, for like three days. Let him earn your trust back.

This is the last straw
What I'd do him up and tell him to stop being insecure or you're out. Let him know, if he has you already it should be no problem when you talk to other people.
P.S. Love to Saquetta Crandell and Valyncia Davis!! You guys were a lot of fun. Of course I was going to shout you out, even if you didn't win! :-)

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Pardon My Absence

Let me just go ahead an apologize, now. To everyone whose call I don't return. For all the emails that may get backlogged. Hell, for all the dinners that may not get cooked. Sorry, y'all!

I'm writing again.

Yep, back in the saddle.

Immersed in the writing pool.

Down in the hole.

Call it what you want, but it means that mentally a large chunk of my brain will simply not be paying attention to much else.

I have my issues with Diddy, but he said something on Making His Band (yeah, I'm watching it. So sue me!) that resonates deep with me. He was talking about his new CD and how important working on it was for him. Then he said something to the effect that in order to succeed at something you have to be obsessed with it.

That's an entirely true statement.

People have asked how I wrote five books in three years while still working full time, raising a family and coaching a cheer squad. You'd think the person who took part in it would know, but I don't. I don't know how I did it except I was obsessed with writing. It wasn't something I wanted to do as much as it was something I had to do - literally and figuratively.

Literally, I was under contract. The funny thing about getting paid is, it makes you want to get the job done.

Figuratively, the voices of my characters possess me, forcing me to pay heed to their whisperings lest I lose what's left of my mind.

This go round, I have no contract to spur me (and that's a huge bummer) but I do have several stories sitting on my chest. They're not pressing so hard I can't breathe, but that's only because so far I haven't let them.

Now I'm going to let them. I've put everything in front of writing, the last year, because I needed to. You don't stay obsessed for three years and not have some making up to do. So I had to take the break the last nine months or so.

But I'm about to gear up into pure selfish mode, which means I won't let anything get in front of my writing time. Sorry fam. Sorry friends. Sorry social networks. That's the life of a writer - letting the voices control you for awhile.

I'll check in periodically. So, be good while I'm gone or they'll be hell to pay.