Books I & II of The Lova Chronicles is available now!

The Lova Chronicles kicked off with The Earthen Shroud in August 2013!

Want Your Book to Read Like a Movie?

Check out my book trailer and see how I did it!

Author Book Signing

I've only done this once, but I had the time of my life! You can too; see how.

Food-Inspired Art

Check out my guest post on Notebook Blogairy about how food inspires my writing.

Pages From My Diary

I started a new blog series: awesome, intimate, legendary.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Nikki Giovanni

As I've told you in previous blogs, I started writing first as a poet--or rather what I thought was poetry.  (I am much clearer on the fact now that what I write is prose and cannot be classified with the brilliance that defines poetry by academic standard.)  That being said, Nikki Giovanni was one of my first real experiences with African-American poetry.  I came across "I Wrote a Good Omelet" in the library while researching black women poets; ever since, it has resonated with me.  I've included it in this post because you simply have to experience it at some point in your life.

Being that this month is both National Reading Month and National Women's History Month, I feel it necessary to highlight those women who have spoken the plight of women so brilliantly over time.  Though Nikki Giovanni has certainly received her share of accolades, I find that she is spoken of very little anymore.  We don't study her work in many African-American history courses; little is said of her pieces during poetry venues, and most of her books aren't even in circulation in public libraries because nobody checks them out.  I view that as a terrible waste.

Since we are celebrating National Reading Month as well as women, I have to tell you about a great children's book Ms. Giovanni edited called Hip Hop Speaks to Children that is just phenomenal.  It doesn't matter what color or creed you or your child may be; you will find this book absolutely delightful!  It's full of vibrant colors and images, and the poetry is absolutely stunning.  The book is even accompanied by a CD with readings from hip hop greats like Queen Latifah and A Tribe Called Quest.  You can check out the video Ms. Giovanni did for the launch here.

I think this is a book that needs to be on every child's shelf.  From babies/toddlers to young tweens and YA readers, every kid will absolutely love the phenomenal poetry and readings enclosed in this book.  I'm tempted to get a second copy, just for myself!

Explore your local library this month for more gems like Hip Hop Speaks to Children, and while you're at it, find something for yourself, too, like Nikki Giovanni's Ego Tripping or Those Who Ride the Night Winds.  As promised though, here's my favorite: "I Wrote a Good Omelet".

I Wrote A Good Omelet

I wrote a good omelet...and ate
a hot poem... after loving you

Buttoned my car...and drove my
coat the rain...
after loving you

I go'ed on red...and stopped on
green...floating somewhere in between...
being here and being there...
after loving you

I rolled my bed...turned down
my hair...slightly
confused but...I don't care...

Laid out my teeth...and gargled my
gown...then I stood
...and laid me down...

To sleep...
after loving you

Monday, March 5, 2012

National Reading Month

This month is National Reading Month!  This particular celebration is usually geared toward encouraging young readers to pick up a book (as Dr. Seuss' birthday was March 2), but, as an author, I feel it should highlight adult reading as well, which has also started to dwindle.  However, the age of Kindle and Nook has certainly rejuvenated book sales in the States, but has largely affected the sale of print books from traditional brick and mortar stores.  As my young man turns 10 today, being an avid reader, I want to celebrate some of the Young Adult series he loves to read.

My son has loved dinosaurs since Pre-K.  He owns every Land Before Time film, has about a dozen Fisher-Price robotic dinosaurs (which he still refuses to give away) and about a gajillion dinosaur models ranging from metal nuts and bolts to plastic glow-in-the dark.  As he has gotten older, he branched off into paleontology as a whole, eager to discover new things and dig up new finds, determined there will be a dinosaur named after him--one day :-)  That being said, it's no wonder he solicited his aunt, a navy sailor stationed overseas, to get him the Astrosaurs series.

Written by Steve Cole, a British author in London, the Astrosaurs series tells us that the dinosaurs never actually went extinct.  Instead, they escaped the earth in space pods and now live in the far reaches of outer space.  The series follows a young group of new Academy graduates, ambitious and anxious to prove themselves to the Alliance as they battle wayward meat-eaters around the galaxy.  The series is pretty entertaining with colorful character collectors cards perforated in the front.  I would recommend this series for dinosaur lovers ages 8 and up.  If you have younger readers, the books are funny and wonderful for reading aloud.

Another favorite pastime my son enjoys is origami as he loves to make "creations" out of just about anything; he sees something miraculous in every empty bottle, straw wrapper or piece of useless paper.  So it's no wonder that at his school's book fair this year, he got hooked on a new series by Tom Angelberger called Origami Yoda.  This series is hilariously delightful.  It follows a young nerdy kid who finds a way to origami a Yoda finger puppet in class.  While what Yoda's host has to say usually makes little sense, Yoda himself seems to be giving everyone exceptional junior high advice.

There are two books in the series currently, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda and Darth Paper Strikes Back.  Each book gives step-by-step instructions on how to origami both Yoda and Darth  Paper respectively.  (There are several versions of each of these littered about my house.)  A third installment to the series will feature a new Star Wars related character whose identity has not yet been released.  The name of the third book is slated to be announced March 29th.  I think this series is absolutely wonderful!  Chock full of kid-friendly, laugh-out-loud humor and pretty clever advice, I think your young reader will find this series an incredibly fun read.

For his birthday today, my son received a Barnes & Noble gift card.  Instead of engaging your young ones with video games and toys, please encourage them to read.  Let them see you reading, visit your local library and participate in their functions and activities. It will foster not only a love of books, but of imagination, vocabulary, and discovery.  I promise, an avid reader is definitely a trait to you'll want under your child(ren)'s belts.  Check out the books I mentioned and happy reading!