Monday, January 19, 2015

The Day Before Your Book Comes Out

I have a new book coming out tomorrow, Tuesday, 1/20/15

Play It Forward is my third novel and will be published by Bold Strokes Books. My third novel. Sometimes it's weird to say it, write it, know it, believe it. It's been a while since my first two novels -- Down For Whatever and Right Side of the Wrong Bed, published by Kensington Books -- so it's been equally as long having this "day before publication" feeling.

These used to be childhood dreams -- writing to be read, writing for an audience, potentially; or adding something to pop culture, to the world of books, to communities who have little representation in literature, etc... -- and for a childhood dream to come true is kinda amazing. I'm grateful. Grateful. GRATEFUL. Because I know not many have this opportunity to fulfill a dream.

So what's the day before like? I can't describe it. I'm excited, yes. I'm nervous, yes. I want it to be liked, yes. I know some will dislike it, yes. I hope that there are more likes than dislikes. Yes, I care about likes and dislikes -- many writers and artists do (we're sensitive about our sh&t, as Erykah Badu tells us in the preamble to her song, Tyrone) -- but I'm not consumed or obsessed about it. I'm confident and know I exist and have a life with or without published books with my name on them.

People around me are more excited on the surface than me. I mean super excited and super supportive. Almost like they want "success" for me more than they think I want for myself. I'm grounded, though. And realistic. Books, I often joke, are on the low end of the entertainment industry totem pole. And if you're from an underrepresented community and an author, you're even lower. No shade, just truth. There's not a lot of media or coverage. No one throws large red carpet events for book debuts. Entertainment Tonight isn't sitting outside the coffeehouse you go to in the morning.

But all social commentary aside, the day before a book release feels like any other day, but with a little bonus feeling. Your book is about to be birthed into the world. You hope it will be received with the  love, care, creativity, thought, and compassion you put into preparing it for the world. You want to tell everyone, and The Universe, thank you!

Monday, January 12, 2015

L.A. Writers Conference at Mount Saint Mary's University. Saturday, 3/14/15.

If you're a writer and in the L.A. area, you should consider attending the L.A. Writers Conference at Mount Saint Mary's University on Saturday, 3/14/15.

Keynote speaker will be Nikki Giovanni. Wonderful panels and speakers throughout the day.

I'll be co-leading a workshop on LGBT Fiction with my Bold Strokes Book label mate, Rebekah Weatherspoon in the afternoon at the conference.

Looking forward to the day at Mount Saint Mary's University in L.A.!

Sunday, January 11, 2015

Basic. On Fleek. Columbusing. And Rekt.

2014 brought us lots of new words, with origins in QPOC (queer people of color) worlds. Strange Fruit podcast explores in a recent episode: Yasssss! 2014 Words of the Year On Fleek. Great listen!

Friday, January 09, 2015

Podcasts for QPOCs -- Queer People of Color

So I've found a couple of podcasts recently that I'm so totally in love with. And I think you should be, too. Both I call podcasts for, by, about Queer People of Color, Queer Millennials of Color.

In alphabetical order:

Strange Fruit  explores pop culture and news about the Black gay community, with strong academic roots.

2 Guys and a Girl explores pop culture and news too,  about the Black gay community, with strong personal and entertainment roots.

Both are excellent, on-point, perfect for Queer Millennials of Color... so get into them!

Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Empire on Fox. Looks good!

I am sooooo looking forward to the new TV show Empire, which debuts on Wednesday, 1/7/15 on Fox Network. Big family drama, hip-hop, the music industry. And a cute, talented gay son... yes!

Both Daytime Confidential and The Hollywood Reporter give Empire overwhelmingly positive reviews... and laud the show for paying homage to the epic, nighttime soap opera roots of shows like Dynasty, Dallas, etc...

Will you be watching Empire?

Saturday, January 03, 2015

Selma. The film. You must go see it.

I finally saw the film Selma yesterday. Here in L.A., one of the few cities it's screening in limited run -- L.A., NYC, ATL, and DC.

All I have to say is Selma is excellent. Brilliant. Breathtaking. Motivating. It is worthy of all the critical and awards-season praise it's getting.

It also makes you look at the U.S. South and places like Alabama with a side-eye. But hey, let me stay positive.

Selma, the film, is excellent. Selma Director Ava DuVernay deserves all awards and praise coming her way.

When it opens nationwide on January 9, 2015... you must go see it! That's all.

Friday, January 02, 2015

January 2015. National Journal Writing Month.

If you're like me, social media has killed your journal writing. Well, it has mine.

I've kept a journal, almost daily, from 9th grade up. Then, blogs, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and all other social media happened... and the daily journaling turned to once a week, then once a month, to more recently once or twice a year.

Such a shame. Bad Fred!

Well, have no fear. National Journal Writing Month is here! In an effort to get us back into channeling our inner thoughts back onto our own private, personal papers, January 2015 has been designated to help us all.

Journaling is great. It's cathartic. It's healing. It's creative. And, there's just something wonderful about the idea of leaving private, personal papers behind when we all transition one day.

Good news. I did a journal entry last night just before bed. Pen, paper, spiral notebook. Just like I used to do. Felt great. Here's to keeping the momentum going in 2015!

Thursday, January 01, 2015

Smart. Cultured. And Sexually Empowered. QPOCs in 2015.

I had fun thinking about and creating the "points of wisdom" for LADS, the fictional QPOC, Black Gay community organization in Los Angeles that Malcolm Martin Campbell runs in my latest novel Play It Forward on Bold Strokes Books

After re-reading the novel, I thought about my friends and students and thought... these steps to becoming a smart, culturally-empowered, and sexually-empowered young man could work for anyone. At least... something for us to think about within our QPOC, Black LGBT, Latino LGBT, Asian American Pacific Islander LGBT communities. What do you think? I'll write more about each "point of wisdom" in the coming month.

Here's the LADS rules to becoming smart, cultured, and sexually empowered QPOCs, an excerpt from page 17 of Play It Forward:

1.     LADS will learn to make smart and sexually-empowered decisions for their lives and health.

2.     LADS have the right to say no. No one is entitled to sex or a hook up, no matter what they gave to or bought for you.

3.     LADS respect that ‘No Means No,’ and never force, coerce, pressure someone into sex against their will.

4.     LADS have a right to ask and know his sexual health status, the right to insist on condoms at all times, and the responsibility to know and disclose your health status. (That doesn’t mean you’re dirty if you request or disclose this.)

5.     Just because he’s a top (and you are), or just because he’s a bottom (and you are) doesn’t mean you two can’t have a meaningful and long-term sexual or romantic relationship.

6.     LADS don’t have to give him your online passwords, account numbers, or a run-down of your schedule when you’re not with him. Possession does not equal love – it might equal crazy.

7.     Being smart, culturally-empowered and sexually-empowered LADS means knowing who you are, but refusing to be confined by that knowledge.

8.     LADS respect each other – sometimes we’re the only supporters we have.

9.     LADS support the brotherhood, and aren’t complicit in in tearing down the brotherhood by sleeping with, or getting involved with, men who are involved with someone else.

10.  Love yourself. Remember your Black, LGBT, and Black LGBT history and elders by building upon their legacy of struggle and excellence.

Here's my website, FrederickLSmith. Bring me to your campus, bookclub -- I'll Skype or FaceTime in, panel, or QPOC/LGBT organization!

New LGBT Books from Bold Strokes Books. January 2015.

If you're looking for a good LGBT, QPOC, Queer-focused book to start the year right, I suggest one of brand-new January 2015 releases, hot off the press, available exclusively at the Bold Strokes Books webstore RIGHT NOW almost three weeks ahead of shelf date! BSB January 2015 Newsletter here.

That also includes my new one, Play It Forward, which comes out in stores 1/20/15, but you can download/purchase for your e-Reader now! :-)

P.S. Happy New Year!