My first wake-up call that I was growing older was in Florida. I was in Saratoga, doing a play, Having Our Say, ( and already feeling old because of it--those wrinkles I was painting on my face every night had begun grooves all upside my face--I no longer had to look for the lines!)--Well, anyway, I was sitting in Denny's and they asked if I wanted the senior breakfast? I was too shocked at first. I thought, I look like I'm 65! Oh, I've got to stop doing this damn play--immediately. I was living the part--oh no! Well, turns out you only have to be 55 in Florida to qualify as a senior citizen and they have quite a few senior citizens all over Florida.
Sad to say, I qualified as a senior in Florida, so I munched on my senior breakfast--glad for a deal!
I'm having a birthday soon, June 11th--let us all bow our heads and mourn another year's passing. Don't even ask how old I am.
News on the writing front. I still haven't finished my third book! But I got reviewed by a writing student, no less, and was sent a review. Ha! My writing was deemed "literary fiction" and the author thought teens should be assigned my book, especially as it has wonderful discussion questions in the back of the book. He described it as a combination of "Ralph Ellison, Quentin Tarantino, and Elmore Leonard writing a novel in the voice of Samuel L. Jackson." Now, I ask you, does that make a person's day or not!
The reality is, my publisher and others want to categorize it as urban fiction--which, to some minds, is one step up from the trash heap. One mystery reviewer looked at the cover and flipped through it, noting some "rough language" and, swear to God, in her review wrote, "I must apologize to the author,"--she had decided, pre-read, it was not her cup of tea. After, of course, she said she loved it, but then, not everyone would read a book after that initial judgment. And it's funny, too, because I just read a book by Laura Lippman that, I think, has many of the same elements as my books, but of course, she's not considered an "urban writer." Makes you go, hmmm....
By the way, if any of you are in New York June 28th, I'm moderating a panel of female mystery writers, different styles and genres, in the Word for Word series in Bryant Park at noon. Laura Lippman, Cynthia Blair, Sandra Scoppetone and Carol Goodman. The lil' tete-a-tete is being sponsored by Sisters in Crime, NY-Tri-State Chapter. Hope to see some of you there. Oh, and I'll be in Brooklyn, June 15th at Barnes and Noble on Court Street, 7 pm.
Oh, and I have to give a big smackeroo to John Hanson from Texas, host of Black America Radio, who re-ran a radio interview of me --'cuz some people looked me up from Tennessee. If one can't physically visit places to meet and greet fans and potential readers, it's good that there are people like John Hanson who spread the word with his excellent programming.
Wednesday, May 31, 2006
Tuesday, May 30, 2006
Saturday I got a letter in the mail from AARP informing me that I hadn't signed up for my AARP benefits. I think it was really nice of them to remind me, don't you? However, as far as I know, AARP stands for American Association of Retired Persons and you have to be 50 years old to qualify for AARP benefits. I'M ONLY 39!!!!! Yes, I'll be 40 soon enough, July 25th to be exact. But I'm not planning to leapfrog over my forties to get to those precious AARP benefits, as wonderful as they must be. I'm sure they're a fine organization but they'll just have to wait for me. And if I get a letter anytime soon from these folks I'm going to scream.
Thursday is the official release date for TANGLED ROOTS!! But it's available now on all the online bookstores. Got another great review from CrimeSpree magazine. I won't post the whole thing but here's the best part:
"Smart, witty, and fast-paced this second Kendra Clayton novel is as likeable as the first."
Now, the big question is: Will readers like it?
Monday, May 22, 2006
Back From BEA!
And all I can say is WOW! What a convention! So many books, so many authors, so many publishers, so little time!
I arrived in Washington on Friday afternoon and checked into the Crystal Gateway Marriott in Arlington, VA where I hooked up with my roomie, and fellow crime sistah, Gammy Singer. After resting, and gabbing, Gammy and I hopped the convention shuttle and headed over to the Washington Convention Center to check things out. Now, I wasn't sure they'd let me through the door, because my badge was for Saturday only, but Gammy assured me no one would be paying attention to what my badge said. They'd only be checking to see if I had one, and she was right. But I think it may have also been because it was the end of the day and everyone was packing up and getting their booths set up for Saturday. We walked around and got a chance to meet Angela P. Dodson, an editor at Black Issues Book Review magazine, and snagged a copy of the May-June issues of the magazine, which I don't believe is out yet. I was also pleased to see TANGLED ROOTS featured in an ad for my publisher Kimani Press. Then it was back over to the other building to check out more displays. We happened upon the Midnight Ink booth where I grabbed copies of Clyde W. Fords' debut mystery novel THE LONG MILE , and an ARC of the next book in his series, DEUCE'S WILD. Can't wait to get started on them! I also picked up ARC's of books by Kit Frazier, M.J. Zellnick, Richard Greener, Amy Patricia Meade, and Candy Calvert. I was like a kid in a candy store. And did I mention all these books were FREE!
Then it was off in search of Gammy's publisher, the Kensington Books booth. After walking around in circles, and finally asking for directions, we found the Kensington booth. Unlike many of the booths, the Kensington booth still had some staff and some authors present. Gammy introduced me to Jessica McClean, sales and marketing rep for Kensington, and we both met author Wendy Coakley-Thompson, who also writes for Kensington. Then it was off in search of my publisher's booth, Harlequin. When we finally found it, I have to say I was very impressed. Harlequin easily had the best looking booth there. But the only people still around were the sales reps who were just leaving. We chatted with them for a few minutes, or rather Gammy chatted with them, I don't exactly have the gift of conversation. What the heck do you say to sales reps? Then we left ourselves. I know there were numerous parties going on all over town. But I had no idea where they were and we were beat. We had dinner and called it a night.
We arrived back at the convention center around 10:30 the next morning. One of the people on the shuttle ride to the convention center recognized Gammy from a series she used to be on back in the day called UP AND COMING. I always think of Gammy as an author. I keep forgetting she's also quite an accomplished actress as well. And speaking of actors, I saw this guy, who also appeared on a popular series wondering around later that day. We found the Sisters in Crime booth and dropped off our jackets and totes. I was thrilled to meet one of my favorite mystery writers, and fellow sister in crime, Cara Black. She was so nice and gracious and I hope I didn't make too big a fool of myself by gushing over her books. After meeting some other fellow sisters in crime, Gammy and I headed off in separate directions to kill time before our 2 pm signing. While I was running around grabbing up all the free books, totes, and other book related swag my greedy hands could carry, Gammy was working it. But I think she'll probably want to tell you about it herself ; ).
By the time 2pm rolled around I was exhausted, my feet hurt from so much walking, and my arms and shoulders ached from carrying around three tote bags full of books. I had so many, I had to ship them home. But there was no rest for the weary because I had a signing to do. One thing I quickly discovered while I was walking around other booths is that you have to have a system in place for attracting people to your booth. Because you are competing with so many other titles, you can't just sit there waiting for people to come up to you. I had a pile of books to give away and an hour to do it. Fortunately for me, a fellow sister in crime, who I will be forever indebted to, helped me flag down passersby and encourage them to take a look at my book. By the time the hour was up, all my books were gone. I also got to meet some booksellers and Willetta L. Heising, author of the Detecting Women and Detecting Men mystery guides. Gammy and I finally said adieu to the Washington Convention Center around 4:30 and left to have dinner. Afterwards, we hopped the metro to Union Station to take a tour of Washington after dark. It was an awesome tour but tiring. We got back to the hotel around midnight and crashed. My plane left the next morning at 10 and Gammy hopped her plane back to New York at noon.
My first Book Expo was overwhelming, tiring, confusing, exhausting, and a bit intimidating. Would I do it again? IN A HEARTBEAT! I had a great time ; )
Tuesday, May 16, 2006
I'm so jealous. (Not really.) Got this email from a fellow crime sistah, Evie Rhodes.
"A commercial for my novel Criss Cross is set to run on The Oxygen Network nationally around the country, beginning tomorrow in the following schedule:THE LIVING SINGLE SHOW from 5:30-6:00 pm on WED (May 17th ) & THURS (May 18th) and it will run on OPRAH AFTER THE SHOW on FRI (May 19th) from 7:00-7:30 and 7:30-8:00 pm.Please tune in if you can! You can also view a different version of the commercial on my web site at www.evierhodes.com under the Media Suite tab. Thanks for your support!"
Evie writes supernatural, psychological thrillers. Oooooo
Check her out.
Now, my question is--how much did that ad cost?! But what wonderful placement. Good to see something like this.
Am looking forward to BEA. If any of you out there are attending, do come by the Sisters in Crime Booth. Angela and I will be looking for you.
Monday, May 15, 2006
DC Here We Come!
This weekend my fellow Crime Sistah, Gammy Singer, and I will be in Washington, DC for Book Expo America. For those of you who are wondering just what the heck Book Expo America is, Book Expo America, according to the BEA website, is the largest book publishing event in the U.S. and attracts upwards of 30,000 booksellers, librarians, educators, publishers, and authors each year. BEA is an industry event. So, it's not open to the public. This will be my, as well as Gammy's, first time attending BEA and I'm pretty excited. Publishers come to BEA to promote their latest titles and there will be free, yes I said FREE, books galore being given away. I've also heard that there will be wall to wall parties and apparently nobody parties like book people. Gammy and I will be signing in the Sisters In Crime, not to be confused with the Crime Sistahs, booth #830 at 2pm on Saturday May 20th. If any of you reading this blog will be at BEA, please stop by to say hi and get a free book. Gammy and I would love to meet you. I'm sure we'll have lots to blog about next week and maybe even some pictures.
And speaking of books and publishing, below are some interesting book related deals that were posted on Publishers Marketplace last week. I've never read a single book by Zane, and I know opinions vary about her books. But wow! She's sure working it, isn't she? As for the last one, despite the off-putting title, sounds like it could be quite interesting.
FILM RIGHTS: Zane's ADDICTED, to Wayne Levin at Lionsgate, with Zane and partner Suzanne de Passe producing under de Passe/Zane Entertainment, by attorney Darrell Miller of Miller & Pliakas.
FICTION: Adrianne Byrd and Niobia Bryant, writing as Christian Williams and Meesha Mink's DESPERATE HOODWIVES, the story of four women struggling to escape a low-income housing project, to Cherise Davis at Touchstone Fireside, in a pre-empt, in a good deal, in a two-book deal, by Deidre Knight at The Knight Agency and Claudia Menza at the Menza Baron Agency (NA).
Saturday, May 06, 2006
4 Star Ebony Friends
Every time I sat down this past week to blog I got sidetracked by one thing or another. But I'm back now ; ). I got my first review for Tangled Roots and it was a great one! Romantic Times Magazine reviewed it in thier June issue. It was a 4 star review, which is wonderful considering they only rated my first book, The Company You Keep, 3 stars. So, I guess either my writing has improved or the plot of this book is more appealing, who knows. I'm not complaining. Tangled Roots also got a small write up in the bookshelf column of Ebony magazine's June issue, though I was a little disappointed they didn't feature the cover. But I guess I can't complain too much cause at least they spelled my name right.
Well, I finally bit the bullet and set up a page on MySpace. It's nothing fancy but I've got some cool music. The one thing that's cracking me up is that since setting up my page yesterday, I've gotten several emails from men wanting to "chat" and "get to know each other better". I definately didn't set up a page because I was looking for romance or friends with benefits. I just wanted to connect with book lovers and other writers. Boy, isn't that always the way. When I'm looking I can't find anyone and when I'm not looking there they are. Go figure!
Seem the publishing industry is still willing to hand out hefty book advances. I thought giving a 17 year old a half million dollar advance was excessive. But this is just mind-blowing.
According to this report, erotica is really taking off. Maybe I should consider a genre change.
Monday, May 01, 2006
Checking in With an Opinion
Re: the plagiarism. The similarities are too plentiful for unconscious similarities. The woman is obviously talented. Why risk a bright future with plagiarism? Is this the result of a premiere education at an Ivy League school? What values are being fostered? Success at any cost? The residual effect will be costly to many people. A shame.
Malice Domestic was great. Met a lot of authors and hopefully, encouraged readers to read my books and garnered some fans. Was treated royally by all. I'd do it again in a NY minute. I served on a panel, I Walk the Line--talking about violence in novels. Yes, I have a wee bit in my present novel, Down and Dirty: Another Landlord's Tale, but the devil made me do it. No, actually, the antagonists are some bad mammer-jammers, so I had to come up with something despicable to lend credulity to the book and the circumstances within the book. As Tess Gerritsen said, (she writes medical thrillers)--I inserted the "eeyu" factor--something gross that makes you go, "eeyu."
Ciao for now.