Wednesday, February 3, 2010

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....

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

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.

Monday, February 1, 2010

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!