Friday, September 22, 2006

Readers: Born or Made?

I've been an avid reader all of my life. Every since I can remember, I've read anything and everything I could get my hands on. My father's an avid reader and people say I get my love of books from him. However, my father and I aren't close. He and my mother divorced when I was nine. I don't recall he and I bonding over books, which has always made me wonder. Was I born a reader? Or was I made a reader? Clearly my love of books and reading comes from someplace. I turned forty this year and my memories of my childhood seem to be getting dimmer with each passing year. But I can remember being in grade school and getting catalogs for books we could order. When the order came my teacher would put the books on our desks while we were at recess. I'd come in and see a small stack of books on my desk, usually including the latest Amelia Bedelia, and feel like a kid at Christmas time. I couldn't wait to dig into those books. I also remember being only one of a few kids in my class who ordered any books. I can remember being tutored in math as a child. I'd meet my tutor in Wittenberg University's Library. My tutor would have to bribe me with a visit to the children's book section to get me to do any work. But I don't remember the first book I ever read. I don't remember who first put a book in my hands. I don't remeber being read to. My mother isn't much of a reader, mainly because of her vision. My middle brother became a reader in his early thirties. My youngest brother only reads magazines and newspapers. I have aunts who are avid readers and all my close friends are readers. So, how does an appreciation of books and reading develop? Thoughts anyone?


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

I'm Back. . . and with Great News!

Sorry I haven't been around lately. I had a good reason. I was on vacation in Niagara Falls. I've been going up to the falls whenever I need to get away for several years now. I can never get enough of watching all that falling water. I know Niagara Falls has become a cheesy tourist trap but I still love it anyway. I do the Maid of the Mist every time I go. I also love wondering through the shops in the little town of Niagara On the Lake and having tea at the historic Prince of Wales Hotel. Boy, you can sure tell I'm low key. No clubs and bars for me! This year I saw a couple of things I'd never seen: The Totem Pole Park and the Dufferin Islands. I'd advise anyone who plans on visiting to do it soon. Starting in December of 2007 you'll need a passport to visit Canada. A passport costs about a hundred bucks, which might be pricey for those not planning to do any other foreign traveling.

Okay, now for my great news! I know I probably shouldn't announce this until it's a done deal but it's done enough as far as I'm concerned. I got a new deal from my publisher for three more Kendra Clayton mysteries!! I got the news from my agent when I got home from vacation. Can you tell I'm excited? This means there will be at least six Kendra Clayton novels. Of course this also means I have to come up with more trouble for Kendra to get into. But I'm up for the challenge ; ).


Sunday, September 03, 2006


Well, okay, I'm being a little grandiose. She's not really a bookseller--she's a CRM at Borders in Fairfield. CT., but I have to say she's really on my side. She used to be a nun before, and she really looks like what one would think a nun looks like. Her books tastes are very "catholic." Pun, pun. Anyway, she told me she'd like to have an event night at her bookstore with African American authors, but I guess she doesn't know any that are around in the area that might come.
Anybody out there in the New York City and surrounding area interested in being part of an African American Book Night? She's really terrific. She prepares well, and she gets people to come out. She asked me if I knew authors--I said, no, I don't associate with writers. Ha! Which is half true. I'm only now beginning to meet other authors. And there are so many of us. It seems it'll take a lifetime to become acquainted with everybody current and know something about their work. These days, especially--takes all I can do to focus on MY writing.

I find myself escaping into movies, however. Okay, I know I'm late with this movie too, but I just saw Syriana. I was impressed--another topical film--fiction, but with truths a part of the background that makes me want to grit my teeth! Grrr! Loved Jeffery Wright's performance. Understated, but solid--that boy is good.

Oh yes, I read Monique Truong's Book of Salt, a literary novel. It captured my interest and I'm amazed a young woman can write with such depth. It takes an imagined circumstance-- a closet Vietnamese gay cook in the employ of Gertrude Stein and her partner. "Salt" is a metaphor for many things in the life of this cook. Very interesting. If you want "fast," this won't be the book for you--but it's thoughtful and it'll make you think.

On of these days I'm going to read a Zane book and see what all the hoo-hoo is about. She's really piqued my interest--mostly as a marketing genius. I think she's to be admired, operating in a profession where ain't too many people getting rich--except her and one or two others.

And I'd like to pick apart what "best-selling" means. Everybody declares themselves bestselling, but how many books sold does that translate to? And does that mean the author is making a decent living? Makes me wanna go, hmm...

Okay, signing off. I'll be in Orlando this Friday, SIBA--Southern Independent Booksellers Assn. Trade Show, promoting Down and Dirty, A Landlord's Tale and seeing if I can get any interest in my mass market title to be released soon.

Oh, and to my zillions of fans out there, Hard Luck and Trouble, A Landlord's Tale, will be released Feb. 2007. No, it's not a new book--it's my first one, re-titled and mass marketed. (marketed, is that a word?) Trusting it will reach the audience for whom it's intended--the MASSES--bwa-ha-ha!

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