Monday, October 23, 2006

When you start a new venture, EVERYTHING is exciting about it. Because you're full of enthusiasm because it's all new and fresh. Like starting a new job. That first day, that first week, or that first month, everything is all good. Until you've been through it before and you discover what you dislike about it. You discover which tasks are mundane and which ones you actually might even hate after you've gone through it a few times.

The literary world is the same. Yes, I love writing and I love publishing and promoting. When I self published Counting Raindrops, everything was new. It was fresh. It was exciting. I loved writing the book. I loved putting it together, soliciting to get bookstores and libraries to order it, promoting it, selling it, getting myself involved in literary events, traveling, etc., etc., etc. Loved it all. Even when I sold Counting to Hyperion. It was still exciting. It was new and I loved every bit of it. Same book, but re-done, so, a fresher product. And now, under a traditional publisher. So...exciting. Less stuff to do, because a publisher is involved now. But more stuff to consult on.

And now, here we come to the second book. I took time away from the literary world to enjoy life. I got out of the flow of things. I'm hopping back in and going back to what I did before. Planning publicity and promotion, consulting with the publisher and writing the third book. Only, this time it feels different. I've been down this road twice before and I'm discovering the things that I really don't care for. Can't say I hate any of it. But now, I'm finding myself wishing I could just sit back and write. Read and write. Study the craft, and write better. But a writer can't do that. Well, I can if I'm not concerned about selling a lot and having a full-time writing career.

This weekend, I got so into a book. I'm reading Quicksand by Nella Larsen and I love the narrative. I didn't want to put the book down. And when I did put the book down, I immediately wanted to start writing. But I couldn't because there were things on my list that I had to get done for the second book. It's very frustrating to have a fire burning within you, but you can't tend to it. You have to put it aside and hope that it's there burning when you get back. And it's the beginning of the week and your weekdays are long and you know you'll have only an hour or two here and there until the weekend comes again, but you have plans already for the weekend and there's not going to be much time for writing which means another week with scattered hours until the next weekend and...sigh....

Just feeling a little frustrated at the moment....


Monday, October 16, 2006

Well, I successfully got through a great two weekends of events and had a great time doing them. The Friday before The Big Read, I did a radio interview on the St. Louis NPR radio station. It wasn’t until that day that I thought and realized that it was actually my very first in-studio radio interview. I didn’t know if I was going to be nervous or not, but when I got there and did it, I found it was virtually impossible to be nervous. Because even though you have a large audience, you don’t see them. So I felt comfortable freely answering the interviewer’s questions and engaging in conversation. Okay, so that’s one part of speaking that I do like!

Then the next day was the actual event. I did a panel from 11:30am to 1:00 pm with Eric Jerome Dickey and Professor Eugene Redmond of SIUE. When we first got there, there were only people in the first three rows or so. Very light crowd. And I confess, while I wanted a large crowd for sales, seeing the small crowd made me feel comfortable in speaking. And before our panel, I mentioned to Eric how this was the part that I disliked the most and he gave me tips right there on the spot and talked to me about doing speaking engagements in general. Told me of some of his experiences and how he still gets nervous. So that was cool. And by the time I spoke after him, I was completely cool. The room filled up a lot more as the panel continued and I kept my cool! I read from First Fridays for the first time. Not surprisingly, I waited until the last minute to pick a passage to read. And this experience is different because unlike the first book, I haven’t had a reader to read First Fridays. So, I don’t know what the reaction will be. So, I read my excerpt and during my reading, people are just laughing and laughing. And I’m listening, and even Eric and Eugene are on the stage behind me laughing. And I’m thinking…. “WOW!!!! They like it!!! They REALLY like it!” LOL

But it was a really cool event and I had a really great time. I’m definitely looking forward to participating in The Big Read next year!


Monday, October 02, 2006

Well, things are moving right along. I should be able to notify you of website updates in the next couple of days. Now, I'm currently working on preparing for The Big Read on Saturday. But before then, I'm doing a radio interview Friday, October 6 from 11:25 a.m. to 12:00 noon on 90.7 KWMU, the St. Louis NPR station. Check me out! Smiley courtesy of

And here's info on my participation in the BigRead:
11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.
African American Writers Of Today Panel

Eric Jerome Dickey, Chasing Destiny
Eight-time New York Times bestselling author Eric Jerome Dickey’s new novel is filled with intrigue, speed, and sex appeal. And an unforgettable female narrator rides her sexy yellow motorcycle right through it all. Dickey was born in Memphis and is the author of twelve novels, eight of them New York Times bestsellers. He now writes full time and is currently at work on a series of comic books for Marvel’s popular X-Men series, featuring the characters of Storm and The Black Panther. He lives in Southern California. The New York Times calls him “addictive”, While Entertainment Weekly hails him as the “king of African-American fiction.”

Cherlyn Michaels, First Fridays and Counting Raindrops Through a Stained Glass Window
A bright new talent in African-American fiction returns with her second novel, filled with smarts, sass, and sex . . .Naja’s on a nine-month countdown -- for her baby, but not the kind you’d expect. Naja’s baby is an Internet cafĂ©, the entrepreneurial dream she’s been pursuing secretly while working in a St. Louis office. When she’s laid off, Naja finds herself looking for new ways to network; at her best friend’s suggestion, she attends a First Fridays get together. To her surprise, she meets Russ, a handsome, charismatic man who offers to back her venture. Soon enough, he wants more, but Naja is reluctant to mix business with pleasure. However, resisting Russ’s charms is trickier than she imagined. Cherlyn Michaels was the 2004 Shades of Romance Magazine Best new Multicultural Author of the Year and was nominated for the African American Literary Awards Show Open Book Award for Best Self-Published Author of the Year. She lives in St. Louis.

Eugene B. Redmond, Drumvoices Review
Eugene B. Redmond, Poet Laureate of East St. Louis is currently a Professor of English and the editor of Drumvoices Review at Southern Illinois University at Edwardsville. His awards include a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Fellowship, a Lifetime Achievement Award from Pan-African Movement USA, a Pushcart Prize: Best of Small Presses, a Tribute to an Elder from the African Poetry Theater of NYC, and an American Book Award.