Sunday, November 20, 2005

Okay, I dropped in because I know I've been on an unofficial and unannounced hiatus. LOL As you can probably guess, I'm overloaded with stuff. I'm finishing up a short story and I have my last booksigning this weekend in Baltimore. By chance, if you're there, and you were planning on coming out, please note that my Sunday signing at Urban Knowledge has been changed to Friday from 6 - 8 PM.

So, this time, I'm going to officially say that I'll be on hiatus until round about December 1st (I'll post the contest winners to the blog).

Oh, and speaking of Thanksgiving, I'm going to be on the road, driving to Baltimore on Thanksgiving day. But, before I go, I'm going to hang out with my new MC family, as they volunteer to serve Thanksgiving dinner at the Larry Rice Center (in St. Louis). Yep, that's right. Last week, I became a prospect member of a motorcycle club.

So, last week, they spent time volunteering with the Feed the City program. This Thursday, I'll joined them for a few hours to serve Thanksgiving dinner to many St. Louis families in need. I love what they do and I'm extremely happy to be able to join in and be part of it all. There are so many families here and elsewhere who are not able to gather together and have a meal with their own. I want nothing more than to be able to share a part of my day and spend time with others on that day of thanks.

Well, I'm out for a little while, so, everyone enjoy your Thanksgiving!!!!


Thursday, November 10, 2005

I had an unexpected dilemma on Monday. I really needed to make more headway on the new short story I'm writing, then I still needed to do a re-read on the current on and offer feedback to my co-authors. So, I was all settled in for a full day and evening of writing. I was even planning on nixing Monday nite football and just watching at home. Then, I got a call from a friend who works for Anheuser-Busch. She says she has free tickets to see a private concert and did I want to go. It was Nelly.

I pride myself in dedication to my work. A lot of times you have to make sacrifices. Sacrifices that hurt. Even though you set your own schedule, you know what you can and cannot do. Or at least what you should or shouldn't. You know that to get to that place that you want to be, there are some calls you're going to have to not take, some places you're going to have to pass on going. Some concerts you'll have to pass up. Even Nelly.

I wasn't a huge rap fan anyway. I love old school rap, and I do listen to rap on the radio, although I admit to switching the radio station when it starts to get crunk.

"So, do you want to go see Nelly tonight?"

I felt like a true author as I pulled my cell phone away from my ear, gave it a twisted look, and answered, "Girl, are you drunk? Hells, yeah I wanna go!" And I tossed my laptop to the side, scattered my writing notes all over the floor, and made a mad dash to the closet to find an outfit to wear.

I had a good time. The three of us devised a plan, divided up, and got front row seats together. There were about a million acts that came on before Nelly. Local talents. It was my first rap concert and I must say that I enjoyed it. I put the music aside and focused on the verbal talents. Once I got into that, I found myself really impressed with these local kids for being on the stage. I still don't get the presentation: a million and one people on stage in the background, just strutting around, drinking, and bobbin' their head every once in a while. But I liked it.

And then Nelly came on and put on a nice decent show. I do wonder if it was tamed down from a normal concert (after all, this was an AB concert and it was 21 and up), and if so, I appreciated that. :-) He did some of his hits, then sang a little old school R&B, did a little old school rap, while sharing the stage and the mic with Murphy Lee and the rest of the Lunatics and then brought it back to their current day hits before leaving. It was a really good show and a really good break.

I went home and smiled at my laptop and told her I'd see her in the morning. :-)


Friday, November 04, 2005

For those of you in the St. Louis area, we're looking for the support of 100 teachers, authors, artists, and illustrators!!!:

If you've visited my blog, you may know that I am working with a group of dedicated individuals to begin 826STL  – a fabulous offshoot of 826 Valencia, writer Dave Eggers’ commitment to providing free writing workshops, tutoring, nurturing and inspiration for kids 8-18 who love to write (or to get them excited about writing and its power in their lives).

The very best thing about 826 is that it SUPPORTS BUSY teachers!  Imagine a group of 10 professional writers and/or artists coming to a classroom free-of-charge, and working with young people, at the teacher’s direction.  So, for example, if kids are working on a book report or an essay about Lewis & Clark, the 826 volunteer team could (and would) come to the classroom, sit down with the children and give them POSITIVE guidance and support!  And…this is only one of the many creative programs 826 offers in its work with St. Louis area teachers  Super cool organization.Yay!  

We have partnered with the 150-member St. Louis Writers Guild and we’re getting the ball rolling on the long and complicated process of applying to develop an 826 St. Louis. As part of that process, we must demonstrate that St. Louis teachers need and want this service, and that St. Louis has a strong community of writers and volunteers who will support the organization.

If you’d be interested in and willing to have your name appear on a list of 100 TEACHERS, EDUCATORS, WRITERS, ARTISTS, AND ILLUSTRATORS FOR 826STL, please contact me at If you know any other area teachers/educators, writers, artists who would be interested in lending their name and support to this fabulous organization, please pass this note along. I think this would be an amazing asset to our community!

Please let me know or contact me if you need any more details. Please email me your consent to be listed on our application if you are in support of this program.



Thursday, November 03, 2005


Giving away books is cool! I'm having a ball. But this month, I want to know a little something about you and you're reading habits. So, I have two numbers in my head (no jokes about nothing else being there besides those numbers!). I'd love to hear who are your favorite authors and your favorite books. The two people to post that match the numbers in my head will receive an autographed copy of Counting Raindrops. For example, the 57th and the 93rd persons (not posts). Those numbers are examples only, so don't try to post in those spots (you'd probably be waiting years! LOL)

So, tell me now, who are your favorite authors and what are your favorite books?


I had the most pleasant surprise Tuesday night. I had a meeting with my non-profit startup team for Studio STL (if I hadn't mentioned before, this is a writing organization for kids that we're trying to get up and running by June next year. Currently, we're applying for affiliation with 826 Valencia.). So, team member Beth is going over the draft of the application from beginning to end, and she has this excerpt about St. Louis that would be perfect to convey why St. Louis would be the perfect location for the affiliate writing center. She says that she hopes she can get the author's permission. So, she does this wonderful set up, and we're all on pins and needles to hear this excerpt, including me. Then she starts, "The Es-Tee-El. I cruised into my city westward bound..." And I just break out in something. Either a chuckle, or a light scream of excitement. I don't quite know what it was. Don't think anybody else had a clue. But she was reading from Counting Raindrops, Vanella's description of St. Louis when when she's driving home. I was so honored. I actually started blushing. She felt that it really captured the excitement of St. Louis and why it would be perfect for an 826 writing center.

There are centers in San Francisco, New York, Chicago, to name a few. And we're trying to get in our application by December to get the next affiliate here. With or without the affiliation, we're establishing ourselves as Studio STL and will be up and running by next year. We're meeting every week until we get the application in. Yes, somehow, I'm managing to squeeze this in amongst everything else. But this is something I really want to be a part of. It's funny because when we're at the meetings talking about it, I'm getting all excited. I love stuff like this. It's more than a writing center. But it's a place of creativity and imangination. Each location has a theme. Like one has superheros and they'll have a store that sells superhero supplies. The writing center has the superheros theme. So, we've been going over themes for our center and I'm getting all excited because I want to be one of the kids and explore. I'm forgetting that I'm supposed to be the adult and put it together and assist the kids. I love exploratory museums and science centers. I can spend all day in a science center. Anyway, to get a better idea, check out 826 Valencia. It's going to be awesome.