Thursday, March 29, 2007

Okay, America, enough already!

Sure, keeping Sanjaya on American Idol these past few weeks has given everyone in the country a good chuckle, but this is getting ridiculous, people. It's time for the boy with the pretty hair to go!

After last night's show, when Sanjaya was not even in the bottom three, I realized that the American public has lost its mind. Granted, I'm just as eager to see Sanjaya's hair style as the next TV viewer, but this is a signing competition with huge implications for the winner. AI finalists have gone on to score major success in the recording industry, and it's just not fair that really good performers like Phil Stacy are in jeopardy of leaving the show, while Sanjaya stays.

It's just not fair, people!

I'll be honest, I don't vote. I used to, but when Cingular upped its text messaging cost from $0.10 to $0.15 a message, I decided it wasn't worth the extra five. I'm ready to pay the extra five. If it will bring this show back to something that I recognize instead of the joke it has become, I'm willing to do it.

For those of you wondering, yes, I do have a life. It just so happens to revolve around American Idol on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, okay?

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

A "Surprise" Day

I loooove days like today. It's what I call a "surprise" day.

You see, most days, I have this sixth-sense about whether or not I'll have a really great writing day, an average writing day, or a crappy writing day.

When I woke up this morning, it had crappy writing written all over it. I just wasn't feeling the story. I knew where I wanted to go, but had no idea how to get from point A to point B. This happens from time to time, so I was fine with just getting through the crappy day and waiting for bigger, better things tomorrow.

Well, guess what? My crappy writing day turned out to be a really great writing day, and I had no idea it would be until I sat in front of my laptop and put fingers to keyboard. The words just started to flow. I found out a few things about my characters, which is always cool, and best of all, I'll probably keep just about everything I wrote. Now that's way cool.

Tomorrow, I'm going to have a super great writing day. I figure if I start telling myself that right now, I can will it into reality.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

PRIDE - The Movie

A couple of nights ago, I had the pleasure of attending my second advance screening of the new movie Pride, starring Terrance Howard, Bernie Mac, Kimberly Elise, and Even Ross (son of the fabulous Diana Ross).

This was truly special because Pride is the first movie to be filmed in post-Katrina New Orleans. It's also the movie that was being filmed when I started working for the best company ever, which also co-produced the movie along with Lionsgate and Element Films.

Pride tells the story of Jim Ellis, who has changed the lives of so many kids through the Philadelphia Department of Recreation (PDR). The film was actually first titled PDR, but I think I like Pride more. :)

During my first few weeks on the job, I was allowed to watch the dailies of Pride. I must admit, after a while it got kinda boring seeing the same take over and over and over again. I realized then that they never had to worry about me begging to go on a movie set. Still, it was cool to see which takes actually made it into the movie, and which were regulated to the editing floor.

Another cool thing about working for the film production company that produced Pride is that I get to play with all the props from the movie (yes, I touched Terrance Howard's Speedos - eat your heart out, ladies!)

Here's a shot of me at the office dressed out in some of the Pride gear. The Speedos I'm holding are not Terrance's. I think they were worn by the guy who played Walt in the movie.

The movie is so inspirational. Everyone should see it.

Check out the trailer for Pride, which opens this Friday, March 23rd. You can view it at

Friday, March 16, 2007

I don't know

Over the past couple of weeks, so many people have asked me how Deliver Me is doing in terms of sales. I should know. After all, it is my book.

Well, guess what? I don't know. I just don't know.

I, too, had the misconception that book sales were easily calculated. They're able to tell how well a movie has done over a three-day weekend. Why not the same with books, right? This is what I've learned over the past few months. Unlike movies, where calculations come from a single entity--movie theaters, book are sold EVERYWHERE and numbers are pulled from tons of places.

Let's see...since I only have a few minutes before I get to leave the workplace for the weekend (woo hoo!), I'll try to give a quick rundown of all the different places that must be taken into account when book sales are calculated.

First, you have Ingrams, which is one of the largest distributors for indie bookstores, aka your cute little mom and pop bookstores with friendly people who actually take the time to learn their customers' likes and dislikes. However, I've heard that Ingrams only accounts for about 5-10% of overall sales.

Secondly, you have your big online sellers like Amazon and B&, plus a plethora of other online bookstores. That's another piece of the pie.

Then, we go to the big brick and mortar stores like Barnes & Noble, Borders, Books-A-Million, and the rest of the crew.

Lastly, for the lucky ones (myself included) you add in the big gun, Wal-Mart. And for the even luckier ones - myself not included - Target and grocery stores (although Deliver Me was spotted in a grocery in D.C.). Wal-Mart accounts for as much as 1/3rd of all books sold.

But, you see the problem here, right? There are just so many different factors one must consider when trying to figure out how book sales are going. And, unless you make it onto a best-seller list, you're pretty much blind to it all.

So, if you happen to see me on the street, or floating around online, and ask about book sales, don't be surprised when I say I just don't know.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I'm in the New York Times!!!

Okay, so I'm not really in the New York Times.

However, I received the coolest gift over the weekend from a very dear friend. It's my name the front page of the New York Times. It was so cute that I just had to share:

Isn't this just the coolest thing ever? I think it's prophetic. :)

Thank you so much to my favorite Duchess for the fabulous gift!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Anybody heard of eSnips?

There's this new game in town called eSnips. It's a virtual community of like-minded people getting together to share their common interests. Yada, yada, yada...

They are bad, bad, BAD!

Why do I think eSnips is bad? Because, one of the things being "shared" are full-text files of copyrighted books. Think Napster, only with novels instead of music.

This just sucks, people.

Writing isn't easy, and for the majority of writers out there, myself included, it does not pay enough to cover that Benz you've been dreaming of buying (or even the Hyundai you're currently driving). When people start uploading your entire book on websites and making it available for others to download for free, that just cuts into the very small amount an author sees from all of his or her hard work. It's deflating. And frustrating.

I've heard that Romance Writers of America is seeking legal action against eSnips, but what about the other authors out there who do not belong to RWA and have no one to fight for them? Where does that leave them? Do they just sit back and succumb to the piracy?

Like I said, it sucks.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

A (Wal-mart) dream fulfilled...

This whole publishing thing has been one amazing dream come true after another. However, not until this morning did one of my biggest dreams become a reality.


That may not seem like a big thing to some people, but for me, it' s huge. I've bought countless books from the Wal-mart shelves, and I've fantasized about seeing my very own book there one day. This makes all the years of sacrifice very much worth it.

Thanks to my loyal blog reader and wonderful friend, SL, for providing this fantastic picture.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Read Across America

Did you know today is Read Across America Day? That's right. It's in recognition of Dr. Seuss's birthday.

I, along with other members of the local community, were invited to a local elementary school to read to students. I had a blast reading Hop on Pop to a group of first grade students. They loved the story, although I had the hardest time not getting tongue-tied with all the rhyming.

Each one of the students promised to go to their library and check out a Dr. Seuss book. So, follow the lead of these first graders and READ AMERICA!

I also had the opportunity to sign copies of Deliver Me. Don't worry, only teachers and adults over 18 were allowed to purchase the book. I'm not into corrupting the minds of the young.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

My First Book Signing

For about nine years now, I've had dreams of how the event that took place last night in my hometown's public library would turn out. My dreams paled when compared to the reality.

My first book signing was absolutely AMAZING! For two solid hours, I signed copy after copy of Deliver Me. I am still overwhelmed by how many people from my community came out to support me, though it really wasn't a surprise. I live in a close-knit town, and we always support our own. Of course, I took bunches of pictures. Here's just a few:

My dad had this mega sign made to go outside of the library. I think Nasa got a report from the Space Station about a purple and white object spotted in the vacinity of Louisiana.

Here's me...umm...signing a book. Since that's...umm...what you do at a book signing.

Here's one of me and my sister, Tamara. Boy, are we both happy.

There was even this completely awesome Deliver Me cake! Not only was it beautiful, but it was delicious, too. Yeah, I ate more than I should have. Thanks Felicia and Ronnie!

Here's me with two of my fabulous critique group members, Roz and Shauna. I had no idea how lucky I was when they invited me to join their group about four years ago.

I'm really enjoying this published author gig. I think I want to stick with it for a while.