Tuesday, December 30, 2008

What Are You Doing New Year's Eve?

Thanks for a great 2008 folks. We made it another year, and we're alive! Let's hear it for 2009 and the theme many of us will be using as a mantra: 2009 Is Mine!

My parents got married on New Year's Eve. If my dad were still alive, they'd be celebrating their 38th anniversary. I always remember the day was significant for my parents.

I'll be on an airplane heading West. I will be at a party Wednesday night, where a new crush of mine will be in attendance. What's that SWV song, I Get So Weak... I hope I don't make a fool of myself, but I will say something. I'm always so shy, thinking I'm not worthy or cute enough, but I need to and will work on that in 2009... starting NYE night :-)

Whatever you do -- whether it's a loud party, loud church, or loud snoring in your bed at the midnight hour -- enjoy. Have fun.

Let's all get a little romantic and sentimental with Nancy Wilson's What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? It's a favorite of mine, my parents, and hopefully will become one of your favorites.

All the best!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Everyone's Getting Ready For 2009

Since I've been at home for winter break, I've managed to get about 25 pages of writing done in between family gatherings, gym, and shopping malls. Don't ask. I'm never this productive in L.A. it seems. Also got a program script done for a Grand Opening event I'm working on in L.A. in January.

So that got me to thinking about New Year's resolutions for writers, and before I could come up with anything prolific, A Newbie's Guide to Publishing came up with some cool resolutions to piggy back off of. Take a look.

Some writer no-no's for 2009 from Paperback Writer.

Young & The Restless is showing how daytime drama should be written, and laying a foundation for a great 2009... preview here from Daytime Confidential.

Sometimes it takes going back to move forward. I have a crush I want to be mine in 2009. I started out kinda downer-ish playing Janet Jackson's He Doesn't Know I'm Alive (from Control). Ended my workout with Janet's When I Think Of You.

We're all getting ready. You got your new year (eve) or year plans ready?

Sunday, December 28, 2008

2009... Is Mine

I come from a church-going family. In fact, some of my family are the lead or next-in-line to lead their respective churches.

Went to my cousin's church this morning. He's the lead pastor. Loved his message and had to spread it.

2009 is Mine!

No more being broke. No more fighting, arguing, drama-ing. No more decisions that don't enhance life. No more being the negative one of the group. No more sitting and waiting -- the whole faith without work thing. No more...

What I've enjoyed about our family churches is that they're more inspirational than preachy, as in preaching down to people for whatever their circumstances, life choices, or spiritual knowledge. And what I liked is that my cousin said it's OK if your "no more's" don't happen overnight, or you don't meet it right away -- just be aware, reflect, and do it less.

One "no more" I need to work on... and I've heard Michael Baisden talk about this... not giving in to peer pressure and going out every Friday, Saturday night. That those who are focused on goals work don't spend all their time and money going out all the time, and they stay home to focus on goals. For me, I feel like I'm going to miss something... or someone if I'm not out and about.

Anyway, nothing major. Just had to share. Especially in light of my Vision Board entry the other day, and knowing that many of YOU are embarking on new goals and visions for yourself in 2009. I just love the phrase "2009 Is Mine."

What are some of the motivational moments you've picked up on recently?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Food In The Midwest

So I have big plans to get into a little bitty shirt on New Year's Eve next Wednesday. But I realize, that coming home to the Midwest just before an "in-my-mind" sexy holiday is not the business.

Tonight, we had a Friday fish fry. More family came over. We got the outdoor deep fryer going on the patio (the same one that fried the turkey the day before), and had more catfish and perch the law would allow. Well, I ate even more than the law would allow. At least what the L.A. fashion law would allow.

Before coming home, I'd been on a good 22+ day run at the gym and eating well daily. I was motivated by Obama's daily cardio workout sesions, and figured what the heck. Let's get skinny like Obama. I'd planned to hit the gym in Detroit on Friday, Sunday, and Tuesday -- early in the mornings, and just enough to keep some tightness, yet not seem like an elite gym bunny who'd rather hit the gym than spend time with family. (I never realized that going to the gym was considered "elite" until reading about the fascination everyone has with Obama's daily fitness habits.) And yes, I know about old-school at-home exercises -- pushups, situps, etc... But nothing beats an elliptical, stairmaster, and weights (and eye candy) like the gym.

I realize REAL winter weather makes you not want to leave home for a gym. I realize that all the food my mom keeps at home is a temptation, and WAY more options than I keep in my own place. I realize that the world won't stop turning because I skipped today, Friday. I realize, though, how comfort skipping one day leads to another and another.

Food and family in the Midwest. It's what makes this part of the country so family and values driven. It also makes for a spongy waistline... something I don't necessarily want for myself on New Year's Eve. After all, I gotta be ready for that hot young Manny from Montebello I've been crushing on from my gym and who I know will be at the party I'm going to next Wednesday.


In the end it's all worth it -- enjoying holiday time and food gatherings. Family comes first. Boys come and go. You've been to one NYE party, you've been to them all. Everyone should love, like, or want you just the way you are.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Farewell Santa Baby!

First, Merry Christmas to all of you! I've been enjoying a fun-filled day with lots of family... more than I ever knew existed here in Detroit. Up since 5 am helping my mom with Christmas brunch. Everyone here by 10 am.

After everyone left, laid down for a long nap.

Woke up to the news that Eartha Kitt had passed away. So sad.

Like most diva-loving men, I have a few Eartha Kitt CDs in my collection. Of course, an old favorite of mine by her is Where Is My Man? (pefect for those of you making "what I want in a man list" for 2009!) And when I'm feeling particularly drama queen and tired of being "good," I listen to I Want To Be Evil.

For today, it's quite fitting for all of us to listen to and blast Santa Baby!

Farewell Santa Baby! You made Christmas sexy for all of us... and will continue to do so!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Holiday Wish: Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper

That's the theme for 2009. Juicy Pens, Thirsty Paper. Our lives are blank pages ready to be written daily. How much we write, and how good we make it is up to us.

Hard to believe in a week we'll be at 2009. I always forget the New Year part in the days before Christmas. Whether you celebrate any, all, or none of the holidays at this time, I hope at minimum you have some great days of rest, relaxation, and reflection.

I've been reflecting a lot lately. My life is out of wack, and it got so in 2008, clearly of my own doing. I take responsibility.

I let a lot of friend and family relationships just kinda drift, in the sense I didn't do any work on my part to maintain and grow them. I let a lot of professional projects overtake my life, and I reveled in being a workaholic and perfectionist in that part of my life. I let my writing life drift, and didn't put the same passion into my third novel that I did the first two. Dating... hmmm, I met a few people that went nowhere fast, because I didn't do any work to sustain those possibilities. Money... I'd love to apply for a government bailout like the rest of the country.

But this isn't a blah entry. It's more of a wake-up call for me, and maybe you, to notice when you're sinking and to NOT bottom out.

I've started thinking about Vision Boards and Journaling again. Maybe it's something we can do together. Reading this blog, Tranquility du Jour, is a motivating start.

2009 Visions
Get that child-like play/happiness back... or at least that college freshman year happiness, where everything and everyone was a new/happy/carefree adventure. Kinda like my friend Ch@z. Or like Tayari J. wants to do this year too. Putting them and Little Boy Joy on the vision board.

Think fitness. Thank God I didn't gain any weight this year, I maintained. But my used-to-be, and I hope will be again bff Eric B has really got the fitness/style thing going on. He's going on the vision board under Fitness.

My spiritual core I've put on the backburner, and I realize that is central to any kind of life focus. I used to meet up with my friend Yamonte at a really nice church in West L.A. (Living In The Light, 6000 W. Pico) that was so enlightening. Gotta get that back and on the vision board.

The quirky, creative side of me is what makes me. SARK makes such cool products that inspire me. Someone I once dated made fun, so I put that part on the backburner... no more. My morning pages and writing, which I picked up from The Artist's Way, kept me focused on writing daily each morning in the peace and quiet. You know where these are going.

Haven't touched finances, dating, and simplifying spaces yet. More to be visioned in those areas later. When I'm really awake, I'll start cutting out pictures and images and phrases for my board.

What are some of your holiday wishes and 2009 visions?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same

When I saw this book in my boss' office the other day, I just cracked up laughing. He's a cool and positive-minded guy, and I wondered what would make him buy a book called Bitter With Baggage Seeks Same by Sloane Tanen.

He said it was a gift from someone who noticed he was going through a moment. We all have our moments. But I checked out the book, and to my surprise it was more motivational than anything really bitter.

So if you (or someone you know) need a moment to put the bitter-with-baggage attitude aside, I'd suggest picking up Sloane Tanen's book or any of her other books.

I have my bitter-with-baggage moments myself. Sometimes try to play the martyr, saying to myself, "Must I do EVERYthing?" or "Who told them they could leave at 5?"

Then I get over it. Sometimes it takes some Beyonce. Sometimes it takes vodka. Sometimes it takes watching the news and seeing how others suffer WAY more than me. Sometimes it's just taking stock at the end of the day and realizing that days when NOTHING happens are actually the days we should be thankful for.

Happy wknd!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Chocolate Chips and Drag Queens

Was listening to NPR on the way to the gym. Heard the most fun interview: How To Bake A Better Chocolate Chip Cookie. Featured a food scientist, Shirley Corrihor, giving some very easy advice on making all your baked goods turn out great this holiday season. Might want to pick up her books, CookWise or BakeWise.

On a totally separate book note, drag names can be outrageously fun... and for those of you in the market, here's a good resource: Drag Queen Baby Name Book. I've heard some fun drag names through my going-out history. One of the best I've heard -- Tooleeta Pepsi. I can't remember the city or the club, but I think it might have been on a trip to Louisville or Cincinnatti. Who knows?

As long as there are still people on your gift list... or you've got baking to do, either of these books can be good giving for the holidays.

Monday, December 15, 2008

A Little Skin For Everyone

Two of my friends have recently published books that I want you to know about... and they would both make great holiday gifts. Cool covers, huh?

For those into photography, Skin Diaries by Victory is perfect. Professional and emerging models are featured in various locations, and they share their personal thoughts on their skin.

For those into fiction, Three The Hard Way by Brian Banks is perfect. Set in Little Rock, Ark, the novel follows three friends who happen to be gay and have their respective love and family dramas.

What better way to celebrate holidays than with books by two new authors.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Do Over

Everything old is new again, the cliche goes. But...

Love this do over of Whitney Houston's I Wanna Dance With Somebody. (original by Whitney here)

For Bold and Beautiful fans, Stephanie vs Brooke rivalry is back in full effect. (root of the conflict here)

Some short stories or story collections I could read over and over... Dana Johnson's Break Any Woman Down; all of J. California Cooper's; The Lottery by Shirley Jackson.

Talk about old is new. We used to watch a dance show called The Scene in Detroit as kids. Bits of the style are creeping into my students' style today.

Saw my gym crush rejection boy last night out dancing. Me thinks he might want a do over. My friends and I saw him checking me out... reject ya, want ya... there are no new club games and the story's been done over a ba-zillion times ;-)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

What Up Saturday Links

OK. Feeling just a little like that picture. But I'm gonna get over it.

So doesn't matter how old it is, I still love the "Hey Ya Charlie Brown" video.

On the writer tip, loving The Newbie's Guide post on Where Are They Now Syndrome when it comes to authors and writers. All about long-term and multiple projects... advice I should take :-)

Um, so I talked to my gym crush last night at a party... the gym crush I shared about in yesterday's post. I went in feeling like this (Zhane's Crush) but left feeling like this (Aretha's Drinking Again). Straight up rejection, yes he did.

But like the kids say at my school... It's A Hairflip... and move on.

Anyway, about to go to the gym. If I see him, cool. When I come home, I'm making a Rum Cake for a holiday party. Gonna try to make it like my mom and grandma used to, and not from a kit.

We shall see. What's up for your Saturday?

Friday, December 12, 2008

Friday Night Shy

Um, so I'm stressed out with a huge project at my day job, a writing project that's in editing (and publishing industry) limbo, and a gym crush who I'm too shy to step to when I see him out at the club.

Yeah, I know there are worse things in life right now.

So here's a song that cheers me up. I'm In Miami, by LMFAO, though this clip is by some boys who aren't LMFAO. I'm probably a day late and dollar short on this song, but whatever :-) When I asked my students who it was, they were like it's so summer 2008.

Happy weekend to you!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Win a Kindle... And Other Links

So if you're interested in winning a Kindle (kinda like an iPod for books), check out the fabulous contest they're running over at Nice Mommy, Evil Editor. They're giving away two Kindles and you'll learn about some fabulous books and authors along the jouney.

Think you're tired and can't go on? Well, Clay Cane gives us some great perspective and inspiration with his entry on 69-year-old Tina Turner who performed in NYC recently a day after battling the flu.

How did I let this happen? It's a question we all ask, when we get a little out of whack. Oprah is asking herself the same question about her weight in the latest issue of O Magazine.

Discovered a pretty cool radio show about books -- The Story. What caught my ear the other day was a story featuring writer Andrew Porter (scroll to bottom of page), who talked about how a break-in and theft of ALL his posessions -- including ALL his writings, disks, computer, etc... affected his writing life.

Ok. Back in a few...

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Prop 8. The Musical.

I'm usually the last to find out about these things.

Prop 8. The Musical.

Clip features a lot of our favorites... Jenifer Lewis, Maya Rudolph, Margaret Cho, and others. Just a cool mid-day funny!

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

For The Drama Queen Or King In You

Try as we might to deny, there's a teeny bit of drama queen or king in all of us.

You know, loving that idea of being a victim or rescurer (even if you're not)... or deliberately making a choice you know isn't the best one (heart over head all the time)... or making a situation WAY bigger than what it is. (A wise person once told me... it's not what happens to you that's drama, it's how you choose to react that makes it drama.)

Ever since a little gossip situation got me in big trouble in high school, I've tried to keep my life drama free. I try to do my best to be proactive about potential problems. And I try not to make decisions that I know will deliberately hurt others or myself. So I turn to imaginary dramatic situations like:

Picture that your grandma's new young trophy husband starts hitting on you... and you're a guy? That's the latest melodrama on As The World Turns.

Imagine that you have to hide away in the attic some illegitemate kids you've had by your long-lost-sibling-you-never-knew-you-had... That's the old school drama of the novels of V.C. Andrews.

Ok. So you dig someone else, but you're already in a situation? You could... oh... write and sing a song called "In Love With Another Man" by Jazmine Sullivan. And if you dig the clip, get the CD, Fearless.

Finally back to books. Eric Jerome Dickey had me at hello (and a fan for life) when I read his The Other Woman back in the day. Twists and turns that you never see coming.

Or maybe you're a closet Drama Queen or King and you don't know it?

So enough of my Drama Queen moments. What about you? What, who, or where do you turn for the melodrama of your life (real or fictional)?

Monday, December 01, 2008

World AIDS Day. Fiction Spin.

December 1 is World AIDS Day.

And by now most everyone has gotten the message about getting regular testing if they're sexually active, or about how to avoid risks or protect partners related to HIV and other sexually-transmitted infections. Prevention info here. Find a testing site here.

Since fiction often reflects the lives of the society around us, many authors have featured HIV, AIDS, and other STD-related storylines in their novels. In my first novel, Down For Whatever, I featured a "popular with the boys" character Rafael who faces his own health crisis after a number of fun, yet unprotected, encounters in L.A.

Some others that I've read and enjoyed include:

What Seems Like Crazy On An Ordinary Day by Pearl Cleage. Features a main character who discovers she is HIV-positive, and decides how she is going to live her life and future in victory and not defeat.

Just As I Am by E. Lynn Harris. Features a very moving (I remember crying when I first read it) HIV storyline as friends who recently graduated from college learn a member of their clique has become infected.

Lil Mama's Rules by Sheneska Jackson. A 30-year-old woman in L.A. has set very stringent dating and relationship rules. When she finally lets someone in, the results are life-threatening and eye-opening. Absolutely LOVED this book.

The Day Eazy-E Died by James Earl Hardy. When news of Eazy-E's death due to HIV hits the news, it causes the main characters of this novel to reflect on their sexual and relationship choices.

What I most like about these novels and their approach to health education is that the messages aren't preachy or beating people up for their choices. They reflect daily lives of likeable characters who face and deal with challenges head on.

What are other novels you've read that feature AIDS, HIV, or other STD related storylines?

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Crime Stories

I've read just a few crime stories and mysteries, but I know they are a huge slice of the fiction market.

I just discovered a new blog, Crime Sistahs, which features black women authors who write crime novels/mysteries. Check it out.

Also, one of the authors featured on Crime Sistahs is based in L.A., Pamela Samuels Young, who has a number of books that look interesting. What's also fascinating is that she works full-time as an attorney and still manages a writing career.

A couple of my crime/mystery faves both hail from the Los Angeles Times, and are now writing their novels full time. Paula L. Woods and Denise Hamilton.

Seeing that we live in such an unpredictably violent world at times, it's nice to sink into the safety of our favorite chair or room to read about fictional crimes and mysteries.

Are there any fiction crime/mystery series that you follow that you want us to know about?

Friday, November 28, 2008

Books: Low-Cost, Educational, and Thoughtful Gifts

As an author, I'm always about the shameless plug about myself or the book industry. This is no different :-) Every purchase you make adds to our payday, which if you weren't aware comes twice a year for published authors -- June 1 and December 1. All those purchases add up and mean something for us... and we thank you for your support!

Now I know many of you, including myself, are tightening up the wallets and purses. I read somewhere that it's becomong "less embarassing" to talk about our personal economies, and I'm no different. So I'm all about low cost, yet thoughtful, shopping and gift giving.

First, for the next 48 hours or so you can download Oprah's Holiday Hits 2008 for free. It has some goodies on it, including something from Aretha Franklin's This Christmas cd and Brian McKnight's I'll Be Home For Christmas cd.

Of course books make great and low-cost holiday gifts that can last and be used forever. Yesterday, I celebrated the 1-year release date of my latest, Right Side of the Wrong Bed. Author Carleen Brice is encouraging non-black readers to give black authors a try with the campaign, Buy A Book By A Black Author And Give It To Somebody Not Black.

If you're into books by black authors, here are some of the sites I check out to learn about the upcoming releases. There may be others, and feel free to share them here with the readers.

APOOO African American Book Club
R.A.W.Sistaz Literary Group

The best part about these sites... you can shop at home and avoid the craziness at the malls, which are usually one of my favorite weekend hangouts, but not during the winter holidays.

Have a great one!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

The Name Game

Whether it's for writing purposes, or my "fantasy" list of potential kids, it's fun to brainstorm names.

The other day I discovered a really fun sight, Nameberry, that tracks trends in baby names. What really stood out was an entry called In Praise of Regular Guy Names, in which they praised the comfort of male names such as Fred/Frederick. Aaaah, finally something cool and modern about Fred, lol.

But names are important, and significant markers of the times and generations. Today's grandparent names, in the black community in particular -- Betty, Melvin, Barbara, Sandra, Gladys, Edward, Jackie -- will one day be replaced by names such as DuShawn, LaKeisha, Lexus, Jovan, Precious and the likes.

A group of my students has a fun little game going where they've given each other "old school" black nicknames -- Willie, Hattie Mae, Cleophus, Ruthie, J.C. (Jimmy Carter), Sis, Beulah Mae, Otha, Carl, etc... It's a fun way of keeping some history and traditions alive.

I don't know if children are part of my future, but I've always tended to favor names that could go for either gender, names such as Taylor, Kendall, and Lauren/Loren. But I also like names like Kyle, Jess, Seth, Steph, Xavier, and Ruby which are more on the safe side. There are "not-so-safe" names I like such as Desdemona and Delilah. I think with a last name like Smith, three-syllable first names are a good combo.

For writing purposes, or just fantasizing about your future family, thinking about names is an important, meaningful and fun part of life. Your future kid names? Or any old school names that resonate with you?

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Tattooed Soldier

This novel has been chosen as our "One Book, One Campus" pick.

The Tattooed Soldier by Hector Tobar, a tale of immigration, class, revenge, homelessness and conflicts among the lower rungs of Los Angeles society around the 90s L.A. riots. That's just the take I get from reading various reviews.

Good thing for book clubs like "One Book, One Campus" or Oprah's Book Club or Today Show, etc... They definitely introduce you to books you'd probably never pick up unless recommended by a larger program or celebrity. That's always a good thing.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

L.A. Stories. Valet Parking.

Real quick... you know you're in L.A. when you arrive at the gym, find NO parking spots, and realize that you've never used the gym's valet service.

I did today. For the first time.

I valet park most everywhere else I go -- clubs, restaurants, sometimes the mall. Yeah, the mall -- malls in L.A. are super crowded on weekends. I mostly valet in the evening and night hours, for safety sake.

But never thought I'd resort to valet parking at the gym. In the daytime. It felt kinda lazy.

But it was better than driving around for 15 minutes and using up all that gas.

L.A. stories.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A Mercy

Toni Morrison's new novel, A Mercy, is out. I will purchase and read it soon.

Toni Morrison is one of those writers whose books I will purchase no matter what. I don't need to read the back, or reviews, or the hype. I know I'll get a good read. There are a few other authors I feel that way about.

But, in case you're an audio/visual learner, here are a few links of Toni Morrison talking about her latest novel. I hope you find them interesting.

Toni Morrison on Charlie Rose tv show. 30 minutes.

Toni Morrison reads excerpts of A Mercy on NPR. 4-parts, 1 hour total.

Toni Morrison on Oprah.com interview. About 5 minutes.

Toni Morrison interview on the BBC. About 20 minutes, but interesting to hear questions from the British perspective considering that country's role in perpetuating the African slave trade.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Death In Daytime

So you know I'm so into Young and the Restless. And lately it rocks... and the only other thing that'll make it rock more is the return of Victoria Rowell as Drucilla!

Daytime Confidential has a sneak preview of this week's Paris storyline, along with the death of a major character that brings back several familiar faces of the past for the funeral.

The other part that rocks is the return of Eileen Davidson as Ashley Abbott. A great heritage character of the show who never should have been off the Y&R canvas, but writers make choices sometimes that the audience doesn't always understand.

And apparently, while she was off the soap canvas, the actress published her first novel, Death In Daytime, about a veteran soap actress who is accused of murdering an executive producer she clashes with about character development.

Sounds like a juicy read. And at $6.99 on Amazon, it's a perfectly affordable gift for the holidays... or to give yourself just because.

Friday, November 07, 2008

Blaming The Blacks On Gay Marriage Failure

So we're in class over the past few days. Still talking election.

Everyone's still on high from the Obama win this week. And pretty much everyone's on low from the Prop 8 passage in California.

But then the conversation digresses. Students/activists invested in the gay marriage issue start blaming the passage of the proposition on the black community in California.

Their reasoning -- the blacks voted in record numbers in California (and around the country), and a majority of black voters (most stories say 70%) voted yes on Prop 8, or against gay marriage.

But what they (the students and the media) failed to mention is that black voters make up less than 7% of the entire voting population of California, which means that voting block may or may not have made much of a difference in the Prop 8 issue.

And then what they failed to think about is this -- 1) the black community isn't the only community that votes against gay marriage; and 2) the only time any of the gay marriage activists truly seek to work with black or Latino (gay or straight) communities is when it comes to gay marriage, in other words getting numbers for a vote.

Where are these same marriage activists when it comes to: 1) hate crimes against black/Latino gay or straight youth; 2) health issues and disparities among various gay communities; 3) racism in the gay community, gay clubs, gay-owned businesses; 4) any other issue -- whether it's serious or just pop culture -- that pertains to gays and lesbians of color?

True coalition building isn't just about a one issue cause. And while I (and many other black people I know) support gay marriage, many of the activists involved need to start the relationship building LONG before election season, and not just for one issue.

Now, the marriage advocates are taking to the streets of West Hollywood, and some of my students of color who have gone to support the protesters say they're looked at funny, almost as if the marriage advocates are just itching to say something ethnically derogatory, considering how the vote came out.

I know one day we'll achieve true equality in marriage and other human rights. The closed-minded folks won't be around for long, and the youth will change things. Things are changing now. But it won't change while people are blaming black folks for how the recent Prop 8 vote turned out.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

The Chicken and The Gays

Here in California, we're a pretty liberal and progressive bunch... for the most part, and mostly along the coasts in Southern and Northern Cali.

We overwhelmingly voted for Barack Obama. We voted funding/a bond for high-speed rail train.

We even voted down parental notification for minors who want to have abortions.

So you see... for the most part we're a pretty progressive and forward thinking state.

Oh yeah, we even voted for the ethical treatment of chickens and other farm animals. They have to have a certain type of living quarters, must be able to spread their wings, be all they're meant to be... before shipped off to market. Hurray for the chickens.

But the gays... apparently still can't marry in California. At least, a small majority of voters don't want the gay/lesbian couples to have the same rights as other couples when it comes to making that permanent commitment to each other.

So let me get this right... chicken rights have been attended to more than the rights of gays? Isn't that ironic?

A couple things that strike me in this developing story. One, there are still 1.5 million absentee and provisional ballots to be counted in California -- those are usually more educated and forward-thinking folks to vote in advance. Two, 70% of black voters (and over 50% of Latinos) in California apparently voted against gay marriage rights.

We have a lot to work on in terms of coalition building among communities of color... and communities of animals.

But we can and we will!

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

We Can! We DID!

I'll have to admit, I was a bit nervous that some kind of trickery would happen.

But I spent most of the day going from smiles and encouraging conversation with students... to my eyes watering up when I thought about the significance of this election and what so many of our folks desired and fought for.

It happened. We Can! We DID! Amen!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

In Our Lifetime

I'm so excited about voting on Tuesday!

I mean, I've voted before but this time is different because it's for Barack Obama. Who'd have thought that "in our lifetime" we'd be on the verge of electing a president who happens to be black. So exciting.

My sister and I were talking about my dad who died a couple years ago, and how excited and proud he would have been for this "in our lifetime" moment. I'm sure many of your families have had similar "in our lifetime" discussions around the kitchen table. I'm sure many of your friends and families are cautiously optimistic that Tuesday will turn out the way we'd like, in terms of making history and electing Barack Obama.

I'm a morning voter. Generally there between 7 and 7:15 am. My polling place isn't very busy. It's a senior citizen home. It's Southern California. I know my area will go Democratic and progressive on many issues, including No on Prop 4 and No on Prop 8.

Once we make this milestone on Tuesday, what other "in our lifetimes" will we aspire to? And will this milestone be the motivation so many in our communities need to strive for their goals and dreams... and see that they are possible?

Some of my favorites watching/thinking/worrying about the election:
Diary of an Anxious Black Woman: Planning an Election Party

Aunt Jemima's Revenge: has TONS of great commentary pieces on the election season... read all the blog if you've got time!

Tayari Jones will be in Ghana on Election Day, but shared her election thoughts before leaving.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Saturday Night In... To Out

Saturday evening. In right now. Out later... maybe.

These songs I can't get enough of right now...

Can't Believe It, T Pain (this is usually the first, second, and last song I play on my iPod at the gym... don't ask me why... so freaking sexy this song)

Single Ladies, Beyonce (drives me mad happy crazy everytime I hear it... never EVER been this giddy over a new Beyonce cd... does that make me crazy to never have been this way before?)

Bust Your Windows, Jazmine Sullivan (I'd never do it -- bust someone's windows -- but you know how guys can drive you crazy sometimes, lol)

Spotlight, Jennifer Hudson (has nothing to do with what's going on with her family tragedy... loved the song and played it endlessly long before that situation... just LOVE the words, melody, and her stroll in the video)

Happy Saturday Night... out or in!

Friday, October 31, 2008

From This Moment

It's a dreary Halloween eve in L.A. A little rainy and cloudy here today.

Found a nice video treat: Gladys Knight singing From This Moment. I think at a wedding.

It's originally done by Shania Twain.

Love both versions. Happy Friday. Happy Halloween if that's your thing. Enjoy this moment... and make a memory tonight!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

National Novel Writing Month

It's that time of year again... National Novel Writing Month.

Each November, thousands of would-be novelists try their hands at completing a 50,000 word draft of a novel in 30 days. The website provides plenty of supportive tips and resources for working toward the goal. Another site, Paperback Writer, offers tips for succeeding at NaNoWriMo.

The idea is geared toward quantity -- that is, pushing those who sit with the idea of writing to do so. The quality comes later, as the first draft turns into a revised second and third draft. For NaNoWriMo, 50,000 words is a good beginning (about 175 pages). Most fiction manuscripts aim for minimally 65-70,000 thousand words.

If you're up to the challenge, give it a try. 50,000 words over 30 days comes to about 1,600 words daily... or about 6 pages daily. And with the economy the way it is lately, and many of us saving money by staying IN, might as well stay IN with the notepad and/or keyboard for the month of November and create something that could pay off in the long run.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Writers Link

Some writerly links for you...

Toni Morrison reads from her new novel, A Mercy, on NPR this week.

TV Guide Canada celebrates the best-written in daytime television, Young and the Restless.

Guide To Literary Agents blog answers all the questions you have about getting your novel represented by an agent.

The Spendid Table shares the best in food, food writing and recipes, and succulent dining at home.

Finally, in case you didn't know it... Toni Morrison graces the cover of the latest Poets & Writers.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Classic Y&R: Olivia, Nathan, Keesha, and HIV

Been a YouTube addict this afternoon going down soap opera memory lane.

One of my ALL TIME favorite storylines on Young and The Restless was when Olivia, played by the fabulous Tonya Lee Williams, found out her husband, Nathan, had been having an affair with Keesha, who happened to be HIV-positive.

Such a well-written and well-acted storyline by all involved. And it showed how good Y&R was with its realistic black characters... especially with the following clips featuring Olivia and her sister Drucilla processing about "what a dog" Nathan is.

What made the storyline work was the classic Y&R formula... slow build up to the scenes you see here. Olivia was an ambitious doctor, who worked a lot of hours. Nathan felt neglected, didn't like that Olivia wasn't home all the time and that she'd hired someone to look after their son. Soon, Nathan met Keesha out in Genoa City (I believe on a case he was working on, Nathan was a private investigator), and their affair started. Keesha found out she was HIV-positive from a previous lover... and all hell broke loose. Nathan HAD to tell his wife about the affair and the exposure to HIV. It took a good year for this storyline to play out. And this was long before HIV and the black community made headlines.

Olivia is returning to the show, played by Tonya Lee Williams. Hopefully Dru played by Victoria Rowell will follow. (My sidenote, the actor playing the husband Nathan is/was sooooooo cute to me, but that's a major sidenote, lol)

In the meantime, some great clips:

Olivia confronts Keesha when she finds out about the affair and the HIV exposure. (Olivia eventually tested negative, and they followed her testing process in real time over the next year)

Olivia and Dru talk about Nathan. Part 1.

Olivia and Nathan Part 2... and Part 3.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Confessions of a Contractor

We recently finished a MAJOR construction project at my day job, so I've developed a thing or two for contractors, construction workers, and people who make something from nothing. I mean... they made the new place fabulous.

So when I heard about this novel, Confessions of a Contractor, I knew I had to pick up a copy.

The novel is by Richard Murphy, and is a humorous and detailed story of a contractor in the middle of a steamy love triangle with two wealthy clients whose houses the contractor is working on. The competitors in this love triangle are two ex-best friends.

Sounds fun and like a good read to escape from the day-to-day build up of stress and money woes.

Monday, October 20, 2008

You've Got Mail... And More

Quite timely and tech savvy for the late 2000s.

STD notification by anonymous online e-card. Story on MSNBC.com.

The service is available in many major U.S. cities, via inSpot.

A group of students and I were talking about the ease of online relationships for the kids of the late 80s and early 90s. Maybe this service can make it just as easy to take care of their sexual health.

Imagine opening up your email and discovering you've got mail... and more. I guess better to learn this way, than never to learn until it's too late.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Sunday Surprises

A couple surprises today.

The good one... an interview with Annie Proulx in the L.A. Times. Proulx is the author of the short story which is the basis of the film Brokeback Mountain. Very good interview, with some surprising insights into life in Wyoming and life as a writer. I've written about Proulx and her writing on this blog before.

The bad surprise... I went to my neighborhood park to run this afternoon. Lots of cars, red t-shirts, and people gathered. I figured it was one of the weekly festivals or yard sales they hold. It was a Yes for Prop 8 rally.

For those of you not from California, Prop 8 is seeking to write in the state constitution the definition of marriage. It seeks to take the right of marriage away from gay and lesbian couples who would like to get married.

A YES vote would define marriage as between one man and one woman, and write it into the state constitution. A NO vote would not write a definition of marriage into the state constitution, meaning that people could marry the one person they want if they choose to marry.

I was surprised that 1) my town park gave a permit for a group to host a Yes on 8 event, and 2) that this event was clearly targeting the Asian Pacific Islander community as the group of choice to deliver the discriminatory message, based on who was present and the languages and symbols on t-shirts and signs.

For the record, I am voting NO on Prop 8 in California. I believe that anyone who chooses to marry another person should have the right to do so. Taking away rights, and writing such measures in the state constitution, isn't fair.

But back to Annie Proulx... here's a list of her books available on Amazon. Definitely some work not to be missed.


So I just found out that my friend Liza Palmer's first novel, Conversations with the Fat Girl, has been optioned by HBO for a series. That's great news. I'm happy for her. It's such a great book and voice, and I can totally see it as a series. Liza and I started out around the same time with our publishing journey. I've written about her books, Conversations and Seeing Me Naked on the blog before.

In these tough economic and political times, we're all looking for good escapist options to get our minds off of things. Miriam Goderich, of the Dystel & Goderich literary agency, shares her desire to be swept away by a good new book across her desk.

One option to escape... travel. Our friend Tayari Jones is heading to Ghana in early November for International African Writers' Day.

Finally, you and your literary agent are trying to get a better deal for your book. The Book Deal blog offers these options.

Have a great one... create a memory today!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Call Me Crazy

Call Me Crazy is the newest release from Lee Ann Womack, who is one of my favorite country singers. It comes out on Tuesday and has already gotten "Album of the Year" type reviews already.

I love country music, if you didn't know already, for a number of reasons. Mainly the lyrics. And Lee Ann Womack tells some stories, that are quite relatable in the lyrics of her songs.

Some of my LAW favorites:

The inspirational I Hope You Dance (which about 5 years ago was the first LAW song I ever heard, totally random, while flying from L.A. to Detroit for Christmas break)

I May Hate Myself In The Morning (about that one f-buddy or ex you always turn to for comfort in the middle of the night, even though you know he's bad for you)

Twenty Years and Two Husbands Ago (reflecting on life, the choices made, and the life you have now)

Last Call (her current hit, about the one who calls you at the end of the night after he's had all his fun, while you sat at home waiting for him... I wrote about a Last Call situation I had earlier this summer)

Anyway, hope it's a great weekend for you. Make some memories... and call me crazy!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Those Were The Days...

When I was in grad school from 95 to 97, I got caught up in Days of our Lives.

One of my cohorts in my program got me hooked on the tail end of Marlena's possession. Then I fell for the Sami/Austin/Carrie triangle.

Finally I got hooked on the story of all stories... Marlena/John Black/Kristen triangle, which eventually brought us Kristen (and the actress Eileen Davidson) having identical quadruplet siblings (Susan, Sister Mary Moira, and the brother whose name I don't remembeer) all appearing on screen.

Those stories all had one person in common. Days' head writer at the time, James E. Reilly. Reilly died over the weekend. Daytime Confidential has a really great remembrance of Reilly's stories he brought to Days.

One of the things he was credited with was Days' rise in ratings in the 1990s from #7 to #2 for many years. Often his stories were panned by critics, but LOVED by fans. I know that those of us in book writing profession are often deluged with debates and discussions on the popularity/quality continuum.

But this isn't about debates or popularity or quality. I know I enjoyed Days for the two years I was in grad school. Often, I look back on those days... and Days with a lot of fondness.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed

Before Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton made history in 2008, there was Shirley Chisholm, who started construction on their road in 1972.

An advocate for the poor, communities of color, women, working people, and young people, Chisholm became the first black woman elected to U.S. Congress, and later, the first black and woman to run a serious campaign for the U.S. President in 1972. In fact, she is considered the only woman to date (until Hillary in 2008) to have even been a contender.

I have seen this documentary, Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed, many times. I always learn something new. Fascinating film. Fascinating woman. If you get a chance to see it, you should. Check out another official website for the film, Chisholm 72.

In 1972, Shirley Chisholm ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. Though many said it was more symbolic, she (and history) assessed it to be groundbreaking, serious, and a way to pave the road for women, people of color, and the poor to run for president. In fact, she racked up enough delagates along the primary race to play a major role in the Democratic platform and ticket in 1972.

In her book, The Good Fight, she wrote, "I ran for the presidency, despite the hopeless odds, to demonstrate the sheer will and refusal to accept the status quo. The next time a woman runs, or a black, a Jew, or anyone from a group that the country says is 'not ready' to elect to its highest offices, I believe that he or she will be taken seriously from the start."

Now, some 36 years later, we're seeing the road she paved has made it possible for people like Barack, Hillary, and even Carol and Al and Jesse to run serious campaigns.

Based on what I saw in the documentary, Chisholm was a fierce, strong woman, who was not afraid to speak her mind, rattle the powers that be, and always had intelligent and assertive statements to make. She was definitely unbossed and unbought.

Definetely a role model and someone to add to your "to know about" list. And definitely another reason you should vote for CHANGE in just a few short weeks.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

The Legs Are The Last To Go

I've always loved Diahann Carroll. Though she had a career long before I loved divas, my first real exposure to her was as Dominique Devereaux on Dynasty.

Now, Diahann has a new memoir that recently came out-- The Legs Are The Last To Go: Aging, Acting, Marrying, and Other Things I Learned The Hard Way.

When I was a kid, I read her autobiography Diahann! and I remember really admiring her work and life. I'm sure Legs Are Last will be a good read as well. Diahann Carroll talks about her life and new book in this NPR interview with Michele Norris.

Now, back to Dynasty... those were the days, and I remember being soooooo excited knowing the "first black bitch on soaps" was going to make her debut. Here are some clips, courtesy of YouTube, of the first black bitch on soaps in action:

Dominique's debut... a scene with Alexis (and that assymetrical hair and fur cape... diva!)

Dominique and Alexis catfight (with the very obvious stuntMEN doing the fighting)

Dominique and Alexis... the slap heard around the world.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008


OMG... thank God I'm nowhere near retiring.

I just took a look at my 401K account with my day job. Not cute. This economy thing is no joke.

Grateful I have a day job... and have that long-term nest egg building. Still, when you look at the numbers. Ouch. It's scary.

You checked your numbers lately? Or are you a little afraid to do it?

Choosing Leaders

From Octavia E. Butler's Parable of the Talents, a novel I have yet to read, but is in my collection. I think it's a great quote and quite timely. What do you think?

"Choose your leaders with wisdom and forethought.
To be led by a coward is to be controlled by all that the coward fears.
To be led by a fool is to be led by the opportunists who control the fool.
To be led by a thief is to offer up your most precious treasures to be stolen.
To be led by a liar is to ask to be told lies.
To be led by a tyrant is to sell yourself and those you love into slavery."

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Saturday Night In... Links

Rainy Saturday night in L.A., and I'm staying in for the night. It's a little weird to not be doing something outside the house, but it gives me a chance to catch up on the blog thing.

And no... I haven't been dumped, like the cover picture suggests. You gotta be picked up to be dumped :-) I just love that cover.

For writers...
Looking for a literary agent? Here are some questions you can/should ask potential agents?

A lot of agents talk about the author platform. What is it? And how can you build yours?

You're a writer, but the words just aren't coming... Buzz, Balls, and Hype on When The Well Runs Dry.

Can book sales weather the bad economy? Tess Gerritsen share her perspective.

For fun...
I've been finding a lot of fun, new blogs by new voices I vibe with. Here are some of them:

Forever I Love Atlanta
The J Spot
Immortalization of a King
I Stay Woke
Beautifully Human

Hope your Saturday/Sunday in or out are fabulous!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Love, West Hollywood

This weekend at the West Hollywood Book Fair I had the opportunity to sit in on a reading for the anthology, Love, West Hollywood: Reflections of Los Angeles.

It was a great reading, featuring some of the contributors who shared stories on the "glory days" of West Hollywood, challenging domestic partnership recognition at local hospitals that serve LGBT communities, and growing up the child of a black celebrity in Hollywood.

Of course there are many other subjects and topics covered in these reflections of life in West Hollywood and life in surrounding communities. And it reflects the ethnic, social, gender, and class issues that are very much a part of life in SoCali. The anthology editors, Chris Freeman and James Berg, brought together a diverse group of writers for the anthology.

If you have a friend in your town who is a native of L.A., this could be a very nice holiday gift for them. And even if you live in the area, Love, West Hollywood can be a nice addition to your book collection.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday Night... All I See

When I got Kylie Minogue's X last year, this song All I See was one of my favorites. Sexy, mid-tempo groove that reminded me of Janet Jackson. Maybe it'll be one of your favorites.

Other favorite videos of the Kylie playbook:
The One (so 80s fab for the 2008)

Love At First Sight (such a happy song!)

Slow (great song... sexy boy candy for the eyes in the video!)

Wow. (reminds me of a crush I had on someone this year)

Happy Saturday night... in or out!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Another Reason I'm Not Voting For McCain

Watching the Obama/McCain debate right now... and surfing blogs.

One of my favorite people, Alisa Valdes Rodriguez, just gave me and the world another reason not to vote for McCain/Palin.

They've got characteristics and behaviors that are reminiscent of abusers. Read her blog entry: McCain/Palin and Abuse.

Obama looks so presidential tonight. Funny watching that old man McCain getting worked up with that old-people stubborness at the debate.

It's time for a change from old folks running things for a while. And with our young generations being more and more diverse AND open-minded, we will definitely see change in this presidential election, and hopefully in institutions across the country in the next few years.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

700 Billion and Nothing

$700 billion.

If the government can come up with that to bail out supposedly smart, MBA types who run our corporations and banking systems, it shows it can come up with that money to invest in education, social services, people, restitution/reparations if it wanted to.

But the big lesson here... no surprise to most people I work with or know... it doesn't want to. Those things don't matter to politicians/government.

Because if those were priorities, someone would have said, "How about $1 billion each for Detroit, Newark, and the Appalachians (and all major inner-cities) to develop and rebuild?"

Someone would have said, "How about $1 billion to share among all currently-enrolled college students?"

Someone would have said, "How about $1 billion to cancer or HIV research?"

Someone would have said, "How about $1 billion to start to level the playing field for women, people of color, etc...?"

Someone would have said, "How about $1 billion for arts and sports programs for young people?"

All this... just because. No strings attached. No reaction to a crisis. Not because it scores points. Just because it's a right thing to do? I'm sure someone has... and we just don't know?

This is long before any financial crises occurred, all this could have happened... if it mattered to anyone in politics. And it would have left $695 billion for other "Invest in People" projects. Can you imagine?

Maybe I'm sarcastic and cynical at times. I'm still voting Democratic in November. I know we're a capitalist society and money makes everything turn in the U.S. For me, it's like once you know what you're dealing with you can adjust and plan accordingly. And for the record, I have no desires for handouts or freebies personally. I don't have a sense of entitlement or that I'm personally owed anything. However, it would be nice for the People In Charge to take initiative.

But it's got me wondering if all this change talk is just talk... or can/will anything really change.

More book stuff later :-)

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Abstinence Teacher

This has been on my "To-Be-Read" list for a while... I hope to get through it before Election Season is over. It's quite timely and fitting right now.

The Abstinence Teacher, written by Tom Perrotta, follows what happens when a progressive high school sex-ed teacher in a suburban pearl-clutching suburb comments that oral sex can be enjoyable. It's a novel.

It's the culture wars at best, when the teacher, whose motto is "Pleasure Is Good, Shame Is Bad, Knowledge Is Power," is required to add an abstinence lesson in her curriculum after local community and church leaders complain she's corrupting the suburban town's youth.

Sounds like a juicy read, but also one that could mirror what's happening when "blue state" people live in "red state" communities in the U.S.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

West Hollywood Book Fair

If you're in the L.A. area, and you like books, writing, and people watching, then you've got to attend the West Hollywood Book Fair on Sunday, September 28. The event takes place in West Hollywood Park, 647 N. San Vicente.

At this year's WEHO Book Fair, I'll be participating on a panel-- We Are Everywhere: New and Unique Voices in LGBT Literature. It'll be moderated by Christopher Rice, and will feature Alistair McCartney, Vanessa Place, Jess Wells, and me. We're on at 11 - 11:55 am.

I've always enjoyed the event, even before I was a published author. A number of the panels are like classes, and I know in these times when money can be tight, anything that resembles a "free" class is something to attend. And it's an especially great place to network and make contacts you wouldn't have the chance to do by sitting at home.

As well, I've gotten to meet many authors up close and personal, because of the intimacy of the space. Imagine walking past Jackie Collins while you're on your way to see Victoria Rowell while you're hanging with Fiona Zedde? It's that easy to see and meet people.

Finally, it's all about L.A. at the WEHO Book Fair. The authors, subject matter, location, and ambience all celebrate what makes up West Hollywood and Los Angeles.

Anyway, make a date for you and your friends, significant other, or family members to stop by the West Hollywood Book Fair on Sunday, September 28.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I. Can't. Sleep.

This could be straight out of the My Best Friend and My Man storyline, which I told you about back in June.

A friend of mine was with his partner two nights ago. Around 2 am. His partner's phone alerts that a new text message has arrived.

My friend picks it up and finds the message, "I Can't Sleep." The message was from a friend of my friend.

My friend's partner was asleep, so my friend called me with one of those "WTF is NoName texting my man at 2 am?"

I could only think two things. Naive, innocent Fred thought, "Practical joke." Experienced, jaded Fred thought, "You don't text someone at 2 am I-Can't-Sleep unless you've been given reason to do so."

Then naive, innocent Fred thought, "A friend wouldn't text another friend's man like that."

Then experienced, jaded Fred thought about that Denise LaSalle song where she goes, "I can tell you a lot about a best friend honey... when it comes down to your man, you ain't got no best friend." -- Denise LaSalle song, "It Be's That Way Sometime"

What would you think if someone text you or your partner with an "I Can't Sleep" message at 2 am? What would you do if you saw the message?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

In The Midnight Hour

A little after midnight and I can't sleep.

That phrase/cliche, "Deep in the midnight hour" is popping in my head. Does anyone know the source or origin of the phrase? Besides the church pulpit?

Anyway, a weird science tip, deep in the midnight hour, someone is possibly having a sex-related stroke. As soon as I saw the headline on the CBS News website, it caught my eye and it became water cooler conversation for the co-workers who talk inappropriate science stuff with each other.

Someone, somewhere is also reading deep in the midnight hour. In a few weeks many of us will be reading Midnight by Sister Souljah. Midnight is the sequel to Sister Souljah's bestselling novel, The Coldest Winter Ever, and it will be released in late October/early November 2008.

It took me forEVER to finally pick up Coldest Winter a few years back. I was reluctant. One of my professional colleagues at the school said I HAD to read it, that it was one of her favorites of all times. I'd noticed it was one of the most frequently checked out novels from my department's library. So I picked it up... and couldn't put it down!

Midnight will be a book release I won't sleep on!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Life Is Short, Wide, and Can Tease You

Was searching on Amazon for some stuff and came across the most exciting book release news.

J. California Cooper's new novel, Life Is Short But Wide, is coming... in March 2009... But you can pre-order it today on the site.

She is one of my favorites. I've written about how I got hooked on J. California Cooper's writing, thanks to a bookseller's recommendation that I read her short story $100 and Nothing.

Shows the importance of booksellers, hand selling, and knowing the books in their stores. I'm a fan for life. And to this day, I don't even need to know what the book is about... I know I'll be satisfied with a J. California Cooper book.

Now, if only I didn't have to wait six months for Life Is Short But Wide. Such a book tease. Thanks Amazon!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Election Proposition

Went to a No on Proposition 8 house party last night. The marriage equality proposition in California. Funds were raised. People were watched. Food and drink were consumed. Conversations were had.

I believe everyone should have the right to marry if they want to. Personally, I don't know if I'll ever partake of the right because I'm very independent-minded... and there's that little thing called finding someone, but that's a whole 'nother blog.

If you're not registered to vote, Rock The Vote can get you started.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

My Favorite Daytime Diva Speaks

If you're a fan of Victoria Rowell and her portrayal of Drucilla on Young and the Restless, you'll absolutely LOVE her interview on Daytime Confidential Podcast.

She discusses her first book, The Women Who Raised Me, and also shares the highs and lows of working on daytime's #1 soap for the past 20 years, Young and the Restless.

Some good stuff!

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Links For Writer Types

Hey... I know times are tight for some people, and taking writing classes isn't the extra thing to fit in the budget. I always found attending book signings at book stores, even for writers I didn't know about, was like a free class.

As well, here are some recently discovered links that I've found to be helpful to my writing life.

Practicing Writing. Free and low-cost contests and other writing opportunities.

The Book Deal. An insider's view of publishing business.

A grant opportunity from Poets and Writers for those of you who'd like to host a writer event in your area for underserved populations.

Marcela Landres. Consults with all writers, but especially provides information for and about writers of color in the publishing industry. I met her at a VONA conference about five years ago, and her advice was the BEST I'd ever received about publishing.

Backstory. First-person accounts from published authors on how their most recent novel came to be.

A Newbie's Guide To Publishing. Always informative entries. And if you haven't downloaded the 700+ page collection of publishing, writing, marketing tips, here's your chance.

Finally, early in my blog life I listed a bunch of writer resources I found helpful. Here is one entry called Writer Resource Library. Check it out.

Of course I check out some of my favorite writers and their blogs, just to see what they're up to: Tayari Jones, Tess Gerritson, L.A. Banks, and Alisa Valdes Rodriguez.

OK. Happy writing!