Robert Smalls Sails to Freedom

A post full of random thoughts (minus the knots this time)

Thank you to everyone who offered support and advice for holding it all together the other night. I hesitated between posting or not posting because I knew I could go on and on and whine and where’s the fun in that? I guess that’s one of those things I need to accept. I am not the type of writer/person/blogger who will be posting blogs that are full of fun stuff. I wish I had that kind of personality but I just don’t. I am an angsty person with angsty thoughts who writes angsty stuff. At least I have friends that post things that make me laugh. (If you haven’t read the latest from lisayee you simply must, but don’t be drinking anything at the same time.)

What I will endeavor to do is get this blog back on track about writing. Saying that, there is, at last, a review up for Robert Smalls Sails to Freedom. And a nice one at that which contains the lovely phrase, “Brown’s telling is vivid . . .”

In other writing news, last night I did something that was very difficult for me; I turned down several work-for-hire projects and crossed a couple of articles off my to-do list. In the past I have always snapped up every writing opportunity that came my way, never knowing where it might lead. I need to accept that I don’t have to say yes to everything. It’s hard because part of the saying yes is the ego gratification that comes with someone wanting your work enough to pay for it. Heady stuff. But as my brilliant husband pointed out to me, at this moment in my career I am in need  of words more than money. Not that money isn’t good, great even, but  I don’t need to chase every few hundred dollar opportunity that  comes my way. I need to make words. Lots and lots of words.

We were talking about my new book project, MTLB. The opening scene has the main character in a new home, a home that is much different that the home she grew up in, a home on the wrong side of town where lots of kids have a parent or sibling in jail, where there are bars on the windows, where roaches and rats roam all too freely.

I asked him why was it so hard to let go of the work-for-hire project and the articles and all the other things on my to do list? Why can’t I just focus on my novels?  Why am I so afraid to write this book?

He said, “Because you remember the rats and the roaches.”

So true.

But I am not in that place any longer.
I need to remember that.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006|Categories: Writing Life|Tags: , , , |26 Comments

I'm back

I’m back, mostly. Exhausted? Very. Writing much? Not a word. I know, I bet some of you thought I was off writing the really really bad thing I mentioned a couple of weeks ago but you know life sometimes gets in the way of what we want to do. Actually I realized I had a major problem with the pivotal scene because there would have to be some legal ramifications dealt with in the book and it wasn’t where I wanted the focus to go. Plus I realized it would probably remove the mom from the story which wasn’t what I wanted to do. But then, in that way that plots do, it all turned on me and it might work after all but I need to talk to a cop and a lawyer to find out what would happen in that particular situation. Is all that about as clear as mud?

I’ve been so busy that there’s not been a lot of time to think about writing. The end of the fiscal year at work meant tons of long days and lots of working with numbers (and you know how much I don’t love numbers.) My husband who never travels for work is now bouncing all over the globe for a week gone, a few days home, then gone again. He just got back from Sydney and left this morning for France. I think it’s Singapore after that. Because he doesn’t usually travel things have gone all topsy turvy around the house.

Then there’s still the publicity stuff which is really a full time job that I can’t work on full time because I already have a full time job. All the brochures and flyers are printed. I’ve almost finished sanitizing the mailing list. My focus was to hit California hard because I figure I need to make a name for myself in my own backyard. I’ve figured out who gets what in their envelopes. Schools that are within an easy driving distance from me get the full packet including my brochure. Bookstores get the Oliver announcement postcard. Ditto the libraries. Schools not within driving distance will probably get the promo stuff plus the traveling Oliver flyer. But wait, there’s more. I got my copies of my new book from Millbrook, Robert Smalls Sails to Freedom which meant that I had to quickly design a new postcard, order it, then go back and refigure who needs to get both postcards. Then I had to factor in new places to send to since the book takes place in South Carolina and Robert Smalls who started life as a slave went on to become a congressman for South Carolina. So back to the mailing list to build up the south and Civil War angles and oh, Black History month. The result is that I am about to start stuffing close to 2,000 envelopes and will send out about 1,000 postcards on their own. It’s exciting having two books come out so close together but it’s a lot of work too. Robert Smalls is out officially in January though it looks like Amazon says they are shipping now. I know the first batch of books have gone out for review and now we’re at the waiting process again. Felicia Marshall, whom I believe lives in Texas, did all the illustrations and I just love them.

Cynthia Leitich Smith posted an interview with me and the illustrator for Oliver’s Must-Do List. I have to say that being interviewed is much harder than it might look. I love the way interview questions really make you think about the process.

Haemi Balgassi sent me a big batch of love when she blogged about reading Oliver with her daughter Lousia and then the divine Miss Princess Hello Kitty    blogged about Oliver herself which gave me a wonderful warm fuzzy when I needed it most.

I’m off to start printing mailing labels but in-between I’ll try to catch up on everyone’s life for the last couple of weeks.