Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Book trailer: Kimberla Lawson Roby

Here's the trailer for Kimberla Lawson Roby's new title, Sin No More.

She'll be in Savannah this weekend for the Savannah Book Festival - a first event for the city. See all of her tour dates here.

Other African American authors appearing at the festival include:

Tina McElroy Ansa
Cora Daniels
Michael A. Fletcher
Dr. Robert Franklin (Pres. of Morehouse College)
Kevin Merida

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

A couple of events and two promotion resources

Nathan McCall in Charlotte From an e-mail forwarded to me.
Hello to All,

Nathan McCall, the NY Times best selling author of "Makes Me Wanna Holler", will be in Charlotte Saturday to support The Brown Angel Center, which helps formerly incarcerated women become financially independent. McCall, who was formerly incarcerated, will be at Friendship Missionary Baptist Church talking about his life and his debut novel, "Them." A book signing will follow. The event starts at 1 pm and admission is $7. Books will be on sale. The church is at 3400 Beatties Ford Road. Please share this information!
I am sure you will find his story very motivating.

Thank you for your support.

Patrice Gaines
The brown Angel Center

And from another forwarded e-mail (both from Tina McElroy Ansa):
You are invited to hear:

Dr. Henry Louis Gates
W. E. B. Du Bois Professor of the Humanities and the Director of the W. E. B. Du Bois

Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard University
Sunday, February 3, 2008
3:00 p.m.

St. John Baptist Church
522 Hartridge St.
Savannah, GA 31401
Free and Open to the Public
Followed by Catered reception with the speaker

For More Information:
(Please forward to your contacts)

A former publishing executive has launched a web-based broadcast with and about authors. Read the NYTimes story here. See the broadcast here [actually, you can't see it yet - just sign up for notification]. It's called Titlepage TV and the tagline is "Passionate Conversations About Books."

A social networking and promotion site for authors - Red Room - got a lot of attention this week because of the site's involvement in a special blog effort to promote Patry Francis' book, The Liar's Diary. Francis is having a health crisis and won't be able to promote her book in the traditional way - so more than 300 bloggers did it for her today by writing about her and the book. If you visit Red Room and visit the blog section, you'll see many posts about her.

Shows what writers can do when they come together - what if authors did that every day of the year - gather to focus on one another's books?

Monday, January 28, 2008

Catching up - Karibu and The Root

Many of you have already heard about the news that Karibu books in the Baltimore-D.C. area is closing. If you haven't, here's the link to the store site, with a letter about the closing:

And here are the articles:
Baltimore Sun: Readers say goodbye to a friend
Washington Post: Karibu Bookstores to Close Doors in DC Area
Publishers Weekly: Karibu Books to Close

With all the Black bookstore closings and the troubling news about the economy, it seems like a good time for someone to pull together a proposal to do a history of the contemporary Black bookstores in this country. And talk about what they brought/bring to the community and why they succeed or falter.

The Root
Henry Louis Gates and The Washington Post launched a new online magazine called The Root today. I didn't have much time to spend on the site, but I did like Kim McLarin's essay about Michelle Obama. She writes that it is Mrs. Obama who makes her (McLarin) really like the Senator - since he chose a sister who is one of us. One of those brown-skinned girls, "reglar" but not ordinary.

A new favorite thing
I've become a fan of, both as a tool for author publicity and as a cool way for readers to hear about authors on tour in their area. My new favorite thing on the site is "following" authors that I'm interested in - and the possibilities for fans, colleagues and organizations to leverage for content on their sites.

Here's one of the things that caught my eye:

Putting an author's tour schedule on your site. This is great for small presses and authors who don't have the time or resources to update their information in multiple places - or who want an easy way to pass this on for use on affiliate, fan and other sites.

So if you haven't checked out booktour - go over now. It's easy, free, and puts authors names in front of readers - very likely new readers to many writers.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Awards - and completion theory

The American Library Association - Association for Library Service for Children announced its literary awards this week, including the Caldecott and Newberry medals. See the winners here.
What I love about reading the awards announcements are finding out about authors and books that I haven't seen before - or being nudged toward those works that have been in my sight for awhile but not quite urgent reads yet. Here are some children's authors or illustrators of African descent who are new to me this week:
Sundee Frazier
Ashley Bryan
Magarita Engle, The Poet Slave of Cuba
Christopher Paul Curtis, Elijah of Buxton

Great to see more than one title with boys of African descent - I will probably get multiple copies of those.

About completion ...
Years ago, around a kitchen table, I had a good laugh with two friends over one of us having completion disorder - starting, but not finishing things. Let's just say that I should not have laughed, as I'm in the same boat now. I'm not much of a finisher - I start things really well and love it, but have trouble getting to the finish line.

So I was really glad to see Marilynn Griffith's post today about completion and her 8-minute to your novel talk. Here's a link to the notes from that talk - just reading this today helped me feel like things are possible and I don't always have to be surrounded by incomplete dreams. Wonderful for writers who are surrounded by lots of obligations. I hope I'll have a chance to hear her do the workshop in person - hint, hint Mrs. G.

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Mad at Gloria

It always comes to this, at some point in our American conversation.

Gender v. race. Choose your sides.

Gloria Steinem had an Op-Ed in today's NYTimes entitled, "Women Are Never Front-runners."

In it she makes her case that women are never in the lead and that
"Gender is probably the most restricting force in American life, whether the question is who must be in the kitchen or who could be in the White House."

She also says this:

"That’s why the Iowa primary was following our historical pattern of making change. Black men were given the vote a half-century before women of any race were allowed to mark a ballot,"

I find this unbelievable - that Gloria Steinem can put out such a half-baked version of how race and gender work in this country. The above is a technically true statement, but glosses over the reality of Black men, and later, Black women and the vote in the U.S. In many places Black men had the right to vote in name only - and faced many obstacles before ever reaching the polls - including the threat and reality of violence.

How dare she count that as a privilege.

I have so many encounters that remind me of this useless call to see whose privilege, whose struggle, trumps. In the company of so-called progressives, I am continually amazed by the blindspots in individuals knowledge of American history and their interpretation of how gender and race operate here.

I know that there will be lots of commentary about this Op-Ed - and were I to have the choice, I would love to see Pearl Cleage or Michael Eric Dyson write back on this. (And had Mad at Miles pulled off my own bookshelf and handed to me tonight during my rant on this - that's like fanning the flames, for sure - in the best way possible).

I think I'm calm enough to go to sleep - and I did mention one book!

Monday, January 07, 2008

A round of links

Playing on the PC tonight - thus I can do links! Woo hoo.

Quickly, though :).

I didn't even know there was a NC Literary Festival. Apparently it is a challenge to put it on each year. The 2008 festival isn't happening, but UNC - Chapel Hill is stepping up to the plate to make it happen in 2009.

How are all those other festivals surviving if universities can't keep festivals alive? And is moving it around every two years worth it, if the institutions struggle to keep it going?

New term to me: shopdropping
I read this in the NYTimes, after it was linked to by MJ Rose. So it's likely an old term and I'm just showing my square-ness by using it late in the game. Same as it ever was.

In case you don't know shopdropping is putting things (either re-placing them or bringing them from outside) where they don't belong in retail establishments to make a point or build buzz.

I feel a bit of tension around that idea - I like it, but I know I'd be teed off if I picked up a shopdropped item that didn't make me happy, like something from the right side of the political spectrum.

Any authors who've shopdropped out there? Let us know how that worked out for you ...

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Transitioning hardware

I am trying mightily to begin using a Mac as my only personal computer at home. But I keep running into frustrating (for me) wrinkles - like not seeing a hyperlink button in the blogger window. So I am posting individual notes rather than one long item here.

What is most frustrating for me is that I don't feel I have any time for the things I imagine I like to do - like this blog, writing and just playing on the computer. So a little glitch - when I need to be done in 15 minutes, can ruin the idea altogether.

Today (and on previous occasions, too) I read that what really makes distinguishes successful people is that they do not see failure as an end point. I am trying to work through that issue - as I struggle with failure - it is an endpoint for me and I have left most of my dreams behind because of first failures.

Can you tell it's the first day of the new year, yet? I am, like many, ruminating on what's lost, what's ahead and what I need to fix within myself. Aargh. (yes - I jump from missing buttons on screen to self-evaluation and melancholy).

It would be so lovely for the screen to look just they way it does on the PC - with the hyperlink button.

Alice Walker's papers ...

Are now at Emory University in Atlanta (my alma mater!). I can't wait to see them - they should be available for viewing sometime next year.
Tayari Jones posted about this - and had some comments on the notion of where papers land.
Here's an AJC article about Emory and Alice Walker.