Just an Author Blog

Reflections on the Journey to Publication and Beyond...

The Brown Bookshelf: 28 Days Later

I am featured on The Brown Bookshelf today as part of their 28 Days Later campaign, an annual tribute to African American authors and illustrators.

Author Kelly Starling Lyons interviewed me on such compelling topics as The Rock and the River, civil rights, what people are saying about my book, why middle schoolers never fail to make me feel old, my inspirations, and my favorite flavors of ice cream (of which there are several).

Whew! There’s a lot in that interview, folks. I’m, frankly, exhausted….

SCBWI Soundbite

Blogger Lee Wind interviewed me as a first time SCBWI Conference attendee. I talked about my experience. Not too shabby, for a spontaneous “What did you learn this weekend?” on-camera moment. If I do say so myself….

For more videos and a whole recap of events, visit the Official SCBWI Conference Blog.

Mondays at CHICKS ROCK!

On Mondays, I blog for The Women’s Mosaic:

Slipping, Slipping, Slipping…

Okay, so I’ve not been great about keeping up with my New Year’s Resolution to be a better blogger. It’s time to take steps to rectify the situation, once and for all. (She says, knowing that it will be a struggle…)

I attended the SCBWI Winter Conference here in New York City this weekend. Sadly, my cell phone broke on Saturday, so I was not able to take any delightful pictures to share with you all. Perhaps I will try to pilfer a few from someone else’s blog later…but in the meantime, I will just tell you about some of the highlights for me:

Recent Printz Award-winner Libba Bray gave the opening keynote, which was awesome. Even better: A group of us grabbed lunch with Libba at the end of the conference, and it was very affirming to see that even the most successful among us can be down-to-earth and willing to just chill with new and aspiring authors from time to time. Libba, you rock!

Jacqueline Woodson spoke about “Shutting the Door” on yourself, and finding time and space to get your work done. Her speaking style is engaging and moving, and hearing her read her work aloud in her own voice is an amazing experience. I got to chat with Jackie later during the book signings, which was fabulous. She has been extremely supportive and lovely toward me and my work this past year. She inspires me to believe and to keep going as I begin to dip my toes in the waters of success. Awesome.

Illustrator-turned-Author Jim Benton (creator of Dear Dumb Diary and Franny K. Stein) dazzled us with images he’s created and what life is like for a “Compulsive Creator” such as himself.

An informal panel discussion organized by blogger Lee Wind focused on developing a larger place for LGBTQ characters, issues and themes in children’s and YA books. The event brought a diverse group of people together to talk about how our work touches the subject, and what the market is for bringing these characters to life in new ways for teen readers.

Breakout sessions on TV and New Media, Viral Marketing, and NonFiction market were useful and interesting. All it all, the experience was worth the $$$, which I had desperately hoped it would be. Sweeeeet.

Oh, and I shot a video about my school visit presentation, which will later be posted on SCBWI website. I look forward to linking it here, too!

Mondays at CHICKS ROCK!

On Mondays, I blog for The Women’s Mosaic:

Drumroll Please….

I woke up this morning to a call from my favorite editor (@EditorK) informing me that The Rock and the River and I have won the Coretta Scott King/John Steptoe Award for New Talent. This is a huge honor in the world of children’s literature and I’m so pleased!

More on this to follow later today as I get it all figured out….and stop randomly shrieking. (The yappy dog that lives next door is not very happy with me for stealing his thunder. He’s responded to each of my “woohoos” with a resounding triple yap.)

In the meantime you can check out the list of award recipients here:

Thanks to the American Library Association and the Coretta Scott King Book Award Committee. Yay!!!

Mondays at CHICKS ROCK!

On Mondays, I blog over at CHICKS ROCK! for The Women’s Mosaic:


Mondays at CHICKS ROCK!

On Mondays, I blog over at CHICKS ROCK! for The Women’s Mosaic:


To link directly to today’s post, CLICK HERE.

NAACP Image Awards

I always get good news when I’m in the library.

When I saw my book cover for the first time, I was in the library. When I heard I was getting a NYTimes Book Review, I had just come from the library. And today, I was sitting oh-so-decorously in the library when I got the news that The Rock and the River was nominated for an NAACP Image Award!!!*

Yeah, baby. I was so excited, and it was not the kind of excitement that’s conducive to the library environment, so I quickly checked out all the books I was holding (only two of which I actually needed to check out, I realized later…) and ran out of doors so I could celebrate properly. By running through the streets of New York shrieking with joy. (Few people noticed. Random strange outbursts are the status quo here.)

This is the link to the NOMINEES LIST. I am under Literature. You will have to scroll down, but as you do so, peek at all the other authors. I’m so pleased to be among this group of names. Thanks, NAACP!!!!

What a great first birthday present for my book. Thanks, NAACP!!!!

*You would think this sort of track record would cause me to spend much more time in the library. Hmm…..

Chicks Rock!

On Mondays, I blog over at CHICKS ROCK! for The Women’s Mosaic.

You can find a post from me there today: http://www.chicksrockblog.com/