Friday, December 26, 2014

Holidays and Winter Break Reading

Sending a quick holiday greeting your way... that's if you're up and reading blogs during this time of year.

What books did you receive, buy, or download during the holidays? Always interested in what people are reading. Share here!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Lambda Literary Emerging Writers Retreat

If you're an emerging writer who identifies as LGBT, and especially a Queer Person of Color, consider applying to the Summer 2015 Lambda Literary Writers Retreat.

Applications due January 5, 2015.

Retreat, if accepted, takes place in late June/early July 2015.

Fiction. Non-fiction. Playwriting. Poetry. Genre. All these workshops are available.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Jacqueline Woodson. Brown Girl Dreaming. Code Switch interview.

I first heard about Jacqueline Woodson  a few weeks back, when she won a National Book Award for her memoir Brown Girl Dreaming.

Last weekend, the #Nerdland community and I saw her do an interview on Melissa Harris Perry on MSNBC. That prompted me to buy the book.

Today, I heard an interview with the author on NPR's Code Switch, which will prompt me to read the book.

Winter break reading dilemma over. :-)

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Winter break reading recommendations?

Good morning. With winter holiday season upon us, we'll have a little downtime to do some reading for fun. My question... What are you reading? What do you plan to read over the winter holiday season?

Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Pearl Cleage. Potential Lovers. Future Friends. Re-Setting The Bar.

Pearl Cleage, one of my favorite authors, spoke at Cal State LA in May 2014. In one speech, she advised all of us that we need to set the bar high for potential lovers & partners, by making any potential read & discuss with you 5 books that speak to your life/identity. Brilliant.

With that in mind, many of my Social Justice friends have been surprised by some of our "friends" and their opinions on Ferguson, Black people, police brutality, etc... Perhaps we've set the bar low for potential friends. Perhaps "being fun/ny" isn't enough of a bar for friendship.

In the brilliance & wisdom of Pearl Cleage... If we're going to re-set the bar with potential future friends, what 5 questions do we need to ask (before the friendship develops or goes further) that will give us the information we need about where they stand on Justice, Social Justice, Being Socially-Conscious, etc... All suggestions and potential questions taken below. 

Have at it... for the Social Justice & Friendship Litmus Test. And while at it, check out all the brilliant books and plays by Pearl Cleage.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

To Be a Black Mother in the U.S. Melissa Harris-Perry to Lesley McSpadden.

Today, Melissa Harris-Perry gave the most heartfelt open letter to Lesley McSpadden, mother of Mike Brown, killed by that Ferguson police officer.

If you're not watching the Melissa Harris-Perry Show on MSNBC on Saturday and Sunday mornings, you're missing out on the BEST news show around. 

Social justice, equity, and the most diverse commentators around -- scholars of color, women scholars, queer scholars, and activists of all walks of life -- drive the show. And the #Nerdland community on Twitter, during the show and afterwards, is the best!

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Feast of Fun. Porn Again & Josh Sabarra.

Saturday afternoon. Cleaning up the house. Thanksgiving company and food gone.

Decide to put on one of a million podcasts sitting in my iTunes, to keep me company. Saw something under Feast of Fun about gay men, youthfulness, L.A., and decide to listen.

What a treat!

Great Feast of Fun interview (It's Never Too Late) with a Josh Sabarra, a publicist with big jobs/clients, discussing his memoir Porn Again, about coming to terms with sex and sexuality and LGBT identity in L.A. after age 30.

Take a listen. And have a great day!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Mac N Cheese

Every year, I get asked to make the Mac N Cheese. I must make it good. Lol.
Happy Thanksgiving... pace yourself... and try to get some cardio in over the weekend in a gym!

We Need To Talk About The Pumpkin-Related Violence In This Country.

We need to talk about this pumpkin-related violence in this country.

I guess some of my happy hour friends & acquaintances forgot to share their deep outrage and anger when the Great Pumpkin Spice Riot broke out in New Hampshire last month. Or maybe they didn't know. The story is linked above.

But when Black and Brown Millennials stage civil disobedience (and yeah, maybe close a freeway or two for a few minutes) over something more urgent than pumpkins -- like police brutality on our communities, like systems and histories of long-term oppression on our communities -- we begin to see what lurks behind the "smiles and what's ups" of our happy hour friends and acquaintances, with ill-informed, non-academic, opinions and sarcasm about groups/causes we should be allied with.

But enjoy that pumpkin pie this weekend, and think about the Great Pumpkin Spice Riot of 2014. I'll be eating sweet potato pie, by the way.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

deepsouth and World AIDS Day

Had a chance to see the film deepsouth last week, as part of a World AIDS Day event. It's a documentary about HIV & AIDS in the U.S. South, and how silence and shame are at root for the continued epidemic in the U.S. South. 

I enjoyed the film and post-film discussion led by director Lisa Biagiotti. Got a real understanding of how silence and shame around sex & sexuality, along with the reverence given to Southern tradition, make for a recipe ripe for HIV and AIDS in the U.S. South.

If you're part of a campus or community Cultural, Gender, or LGBT Center,  or part of an HIV/AIDS Education agency, I encourage you to contact the film director and arrange a screening of the deepsouth film.

Monday, November 17, 2014

LoWriting: Shots, Rides, Stories from the Chicano Soul

Had a wonderful time attending an event for the LoWriting: Shots, Rides & Stories from the Chicano Soul anthology at the Cal State L.A. Student Union today (11/17/14). Great readings, photography, and stories about the positive elements of Low Riding communities in L.A. and nationwide.

Anthology editor, S.J. Rivera, plus three contributors -- Art Meza, Viva Flores, and Tara Evonne Trudell -- shared their pieces and talked about the significance of Low Riding to the Chican@ community, plus the inspiration behind their pieces and the anthology.

Get a copy for yourself. Or catch the LoWriting team at other book events in L.A. this week at UCLA or in Boyle Heights for other events.

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Healthy Masculinities and Eagle Men's Retreat. Lit Review.

In addition to my QPOC novels, I am a Student Affairs professional.

This weekend, I attended and presented at the ACUI Region I, a regional conference for College/Student Union professionals. My co-workers and I presented on Healthy Masculinities, Gender Performance, and the Cal State L.A. Eagle Men's Retreat that we facilitated in February 2014.

Because the Prezi text was small, and may have been difficult to read, I'm sharing the Lit Review that we used and referenced during our ACUI Region I presentation.

Even if you didn't attend, but follow me due to my QPOC work, you may still find this Lit Review helpful for your further scholarly inquiry.

Men and Gender Performance
Berkowitz, A. (2011). Using how college men feel about being men and “doing the right thing” to promote men’s development. In T. Davis & J. Laker, Masculinities in higher education: Theoretical and practical considerations. (pp. 161-176). New York, NY: Routledge

Kimmell, M. (1994). Masculinity as homophobia: Fear, shame, and silence in the construction of gender identity. In H. Brod and M. Kaufman (Eds.), Theorizing Masculinities. (pp. 147-151). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage

Intersectionality and Identities
Crenshaw, K., Gotanda, N., Peller, G., Thomas, K. (Eds.) (1996). Critical race theory: The key writings that formed the movement. New York City: The New Press.

Stewart, D.L. (2008). Being all of me: Black students negotiating multiple identities. Journal of higher education, 79 (2) , 183 – 207.

Strayhorn, T.L. (Ed.) (2013). Living at the intersections: Social identities and Black collegians. St. Louis: Washington University Press.

Men of Color & Gender Performance
Harper, S.R. (2005). The measure of a man: Conceptualizations of masculinities among high-achieving African American male college students. Berkeley Journal of Sociology, 48(1), 89-107.

Williams, R.A. (Ed.) (2014). Men of color in higher education: New foundations for developing models for success. Sterling, VA: Stylus Publishing

Men of Color, Queer Identities, & Gender Performance
Alexander, B.K. (2006). Performing black masculinity: Race, culture, and queer identity. Washington, D.C.: Alta Mira

Johnson, E.P. (2008). Sweet Tea: Black Gay Men of the South--An Oral History.  Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Launching a Book. Applying to Doctoral Programs. And Being a Fabulous Professional. Oh My!

I like juggling multiple plates, projects, and processes. I do.

So in addition to being an author, a friend and son and very social person, a Student Affairs and Higher Education professional, a scholar, a speaker and panelist, an advocate for ethnic, gender, and social justice awareness and equity... I'm shopping around for grad schools.

Specifically, looking at Doctoral programs in Educational Leadership and Higher Education. While I'm concentrating on Southern California programs at CSU Long Beach, UCLA, Loyola Marymount, and USC, I've had scholar friends encourage me to consider some out-of-state/fly-in on weekends for classes programs. Yikes!

Launching a book and completing school application processes -- both happening simultaneously in January 2015 -- is a fun juggling act. I need to do GREs again, write statements of purpose, gather recommendations... AND I need to do events to promote Play It Forward. And that's on the side of being a full-time professional at a University.

I've always been an overachiever, wanna do everything, like staying busy type of person. I'm hoping I can stay above water with multiple and equally important processes in my life.

Oh my!

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Bloggers, Reviewers, College Cultural Centers & LGBT Centers: My New Book Needs You!

Hello Readers,

My novel, PLAY IT FORWARD, will be published in January 2015 by Bold Strokes Books (ISBN: 9-7816-2639-2359). I am writing to you in hopes that you will consider:

§  Visiting my website,, for Chapter 1 excerpt from PLAY IT FORWARD and for information on my previous novels, Down For Whatever and Right Side of the Wrong Bed.

§  Ordering the novel from Bold Strokes Books, your local bookseller, or online retailer for personal, professional, or academic use:

§  Inviting me for an in-person or Skype reading, discussion or writing workshop with your organization

§  Writing a notice or review about the novel in a publication or online/social media site you work with

§  Telling your friends and colleagues about the book and its upcoming release

Malcolm Campbell is the director of a south Los Angeles organization focused on mentoring gay youth, and his nineteen-year-old nephew, Blake, is being sent to stay with him for the summer. Malcolm has always been a community and family role model everyone looks up to. But he also has a secret he never knew he had… until it pops up on the Internet.
Across town, in the closed and closeted world of Black Hollywood celebrity, pro-basketball player Tyrell Kincaid and R&B singer Tommie Jordan are public heroes in a very private relationship. After a series of indiscretions and slipups, the relationship becomes fodder for speculation and outing by the paparazzi and nationally-known gossip reporter Livonia Birmingham.
Despite living in two different worlds in L.A., Malcolm, Blake, Tommie, and Tyrell find themselves in the same arena, where they’ll have to risk it all to protect their hearts and their destiny.

Originally from Detroit, Michigan, I am a graduate of the University of Missouri School of Journalism and Loyola 
University Chicago. 

A finalist for the PEN Center Emerging Voices Fellowship, and an alum of the VONA (Voices of Our Nations Arts Foundation) Writers Workshop, I am a social justice advocate. I live in Los Angeles and work with college students to help them find their voices and develop pride in their cultural and gender identities. 

I am the author of Down for Whatever and Right Side of the Wrong Bed, a Lambda Literary Award finalist.
Thank you for your time and consideration. I hope that you will love PLAY IT FORWARD as much as I enjoyed writing it. I look forward to discussing the possibility of a review, feature, or reading.

Frederick Smith
Author, PLAY IT FORWARD, January 2015
ISBN: 9-7816-2639-2359

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Write Funnier? Read It Out Loud First. Ha.

I love book reading events. Go to them whenever I have a chance. Some are lively. Some are informative.

But I found this writing tip online at The Blackboard, which I plan to use for myself. For fun/funny writing, read it out loud!

Monday, September 22, 2014

We'll Miss J. California Cooper

J. California Cooper, one of my all-time favorite writers, died over the weekend.

I love all of her short stories and novels. I've written about her numerous times during the course of keeping this blog.  Here are links to those previous posts on J. California Cooper.

$100 And Nothing

J. California Cooper

Some Love, Some Pain, Sometime 

Life is Short, Wide, and Can Tease You

Life is Short But Wide


Friday, July 18, 2014

The Whitney Houston Movie. My Life as an Extra.

I had one of the most fun experiences this week. I worked as an extra on the Whitney Houston movie that Angela Bassett is directing for Lifetime TV. I was an "excited fan" at a Whitney Houston concert. :-)

Long days. Long periods of waiting. But LOADS of fun!

I think you'll all be amazed and surprised at how good the movie will be, how great Deborah Cox as the "Voice of Whitney" is, and how amazing Yaya DaCosta is as Whitney Houston.

Still on Cloud 9!

Monday, June 02, 2014

Saturday, May 17, 2014

LitFest Pasadena. Saturday, May 17, 2014.

Hey L.A. and Pasadena book lovers. Come to LitFest Pasadena on Saturday, May 17, 2014, starting at 5 pm at Vroman's Bookstore.

From there, we'll crawl to the Pasadena Playhouse for a wonderful event featuring the cast of the Zora Neale Hurston play. From there, we'll crawl to various bars, restaurants, galleries for readings, panels, etc... Should end around 8:30 or so this evening.

I'm on a panel called L.A. Stories at Monopole Wine starting at 6:25 pm.

Picture an "art walk" event, but for books. Picture an evening of booze and books! :-)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

We Have a Cover. And an Amazon Page.

Looks like we have a cover and an Amazon page for my new novel, Play It Forward, coming in January 2015 on Bold Strokes Books. Exciting.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Cover Art. Play It Forward.

Which cover? You'll have to find out when Play it Forward comes out in January 2015.