Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Musings

Hi folks,

By now, most everyone in the writing blogosphere (or more specifically, the children's writing blogosphere) has read/heard about the flack over the cover of Justine Larbalestier's newest title, LIAR. I haven't read her book yet, but I'm gonna throw in my 2 cents anyway. Also, there is a wide barrage of comments at Editorial Anonymous, the blog where I first read about this.

Apparently, the protagonist of the story is a black female who wears her hair in a short natural (sort of like a low-cut afro, I'm assuming, but correct me if I'm wrong) style. Okay. I get that. But that is not what's portrayed on the cover. So what I want to know is: how can the publisher be so misleading to such an impressionable audience as to which this book is marketed? I, for one, am baffled. I mean, I know most authors don't have much say as to what's portrayed on the cover. But did the Bloomsbury marketing department, like, not read any of the book, or what? Hmmmm . . .

Thankfully, the author has spoken out on this terrible occurrence. Here are her thoughts. And I applaud her for her fantastically brave post.

One more thing. Now, I don't mean to go on and on about this, but when Justine said in her post, "Every year at every publishing house, intentionally and unintentionally, there are white-washed covers," I found that kind of scary. And then I thought, well, if it can happen to her, it could happen to any one of us children's writers, but maybe--okay, probably--to me moreso as an African American writer. I mean, I have an idea for a contemporary YA novel with a multicultural cast of characters and I'm wondering now how that cover would be portrayed if the protagonist were a person of color. Then, as I read more of what Justine heard from editors & sales reps, I wondered if I should even bother querying agents or even continue writing. But . . . I quickly dismissed those thoughts, because, you know what? I like a challenge (for what it's worth, I went to both a very competitive high school & college, so I guess it's ingrained in me now). But even more than that . . . I LOVE to write! So come what may . . . I'm still in the game!

Okay . . . I hope I haven't been too outspoken here . . .

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

Well, I finally made some progress on a picture book that I've been working on, like, forever this week. I got it down to 500 words! Which, of course, is also the word count limit for the 3rd Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Contest. Yeah, I went ahead and took the plunge and entered the contest. Today. The last day to enter. Yeah, I procrastinated till the end. I really have to stop that. But folks, there's still time if you, too, want to go ahead and take a chance. The deadline is 11:59 p. m. (Central Time).

And to all who have already entered: GOOD LUCK!


Thursday, July 9, 2009

Memories of Michael

Before I do Thursday's Tidbits, I going to take a moment to pay my own respects to Michael Jackson. I'm late blogging about his death due to a death in my own family that same week.

First, I just want to say that the memorial on Tuesday was such a stunningly beautiful and heartfelt tribute. Especially touching were Brooke Shields' tearful remembrances of her & Michael as teenage friends, the songs by Stevie Wonder & Usher, and the many memories of Michael by Berry Gordy, Magic Johnson, and Smokey Robinson. And of course, the most touching remembrance of all, will always be daughter Paris Jackson's poignant farewell to her father. That was truly heartbreaking.

Going back down memory lane, I can recall watching reruns of The Jackson Five's cartoon show (forgot what it was called) on Saturday mornings in the mid-70s. I think that's really where I first heard "ABC" and "The Love You Save." By the time I was about ten (1978), I really knew who they were. By this time, The Jacksons' (having already left Motown by this time) big hits were "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)" and "Blame it on the Boogie." Anyone remember those? They were rockin'! Another fave of mine around this time period was Heartbreak Hotel (I still LOVE that song to this day). Then came OFF THE WALL. Wow. What a great debut for him as a solo artist! My faves: Rock with You, Off the Wall, Working Day and Night, & Don't Stop Til You Get Enough. When I turned 15, the THRILLER album had just hit big and I had huge posters of Michael, as Tee Brown said in one of her posts, "wallpapered" to my bedroom walls. What can I say about THRILLER? An album where practically every single on it was a hit and got frequent airplay? For me, it's the best album ever made. Michael was at his musical best here.

In later years, there were only a few singles I liked from albums that came out after THRILLER. And some of the things he did and said, I didn't totally agree with. But who am I or anyone else to judge? No matter what anyone says about Michael, he was a true musical genius, with talent that could only be a gift from God. So let God be the judge. As Marlon stated at the memorial, "Maybe now they will leave you alone."

Rest in peace, Michael.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

I'm back . . .

Hi all,

As some of you know I had a death in my family; my father-in-law passed away last week on Father's Day. Needless to say, my husband took it VERY HARD. So we had to go out of town to Connecticut (we're in NJ) for a few days. But now that things have settled down somewhat, it's getting better. My husband has come to terms with his dad's death & realizes that his dad is finally out of his pain (he had congestive heart failure) & at rest.

And so I'm back to blogging; I hope to post a few things later today or tomorrow.

Thanks so much for your condolences & prayers.