TRAMBLINGS

This entry was posted Thursday, 13 July, 2006 at 2:43 am

TRAMBLINGS. . .

Greetings, beautiful people. Big thanks to EMILY RABOTEAU for joining us last week. I loved her thoughtful answers.

I am happy to report that the archives have finally been fixed by BLOGGER. Now you can access all of the Q&A’s I’ve done so far. Take a look, browse for awhile, check out what writers like ELIZABETH GILBERT, PEARL CLEAGE, GARY PHILLIPS, TERRILL LEE LANKFORD, MARITA GOLDEN, and T. GREENWOOD had to say. There are many more but I wanted to give you just enough to whet your appetite.

JOSHILYN JACKSON one of the first authors to participate in the Q&A has a new book out. BETWEEN GEORGIA is already a Number One Book Sense pick. Joshilyn blogs about touring at FASTER THAN KUDZU, and you can read an excerpt HERE. If you guys remember, Joshilyn’s first novel, GODS IN ALABAMA opened with that great line, “There are Gods in Alabama: Jack Daniel’s, high school quarterbacks, trucks, big tits and also Jesus.”

Moving on. Years ago, while writing THE DYING GROUND, I spent months researching how drug-related crime transformed the Bay Area (specifically Oakland) in the late 80s and early 90s. One name came up again and again whether in the newspaper articles I read in the library, or in the personal stories told to me by people who’d grown up in and around the area. At one point, I even had this man make an appearance in the book but I took the scene out for many reasons. It’s hard to explain, from a distance of twenty odd years, how mesmerized, terrified, enamored folks were with his exploits. Some even went so far as to wear T-shirts that shouted their devotion to him. It was wild. Anyway, imagine my surprise when I received an email from an associate of this man. I knew him only through larger-than-life stories and by a nickname that still gets Bay Area folks talking and telling stories. The email subject line included his real name so it took me a moment to put it all together. I called the Crown Prince and asked him to confirm the guy’s real name. He did and then I read the email. Dead silence on the other end then a barrage of stories. I got another call that evening from a close friend (the real-life model for the Holly character in THE DYING GROUND and THE LAST KING) and he was curious about it as well.

Long story short, according to the person writing on his behalf (he’s been incarcerated for the past twenty years) he’d read both my novels and thought that I’d accurately captured the what/why/when and how of that time period, the motivation behind some of the action and the psychology of poverty in the harsher Oakland neighborhoods. It was flattering, to tell you the truth, especially coming from someone who’d lived the life I’d written about. I’ll keep you posted but the email exchange was very, very interesting. Who knew a lil’ ole gal from Alameda could make a man who struck fear in many hearts stand up and take notice. Life takes strange turns, doesn’t it?

In other news, I got a package from a group of Minnesota high school students who’d read THE DYING GROUND as a class assignment. Their letters made me cry. Seriously. They were so heartfelt and personal that I just got overwhelmed. A few of the kids wrote to tell me that they were so excited to find out about the sequel to THE DYING GROUND that they threw a fundraiser/rummage sale in order to raise the money to buy THE LAST KING. Felt like Christmas.

In the meantime, check out this ride-or-die COVER for the mass market paperback edition of THE DYING GROUND. It goes on sale September 26th at the very affordable price of $6.99. I am thrilled that we’re finally moving into the Mass Market Paperback arena. That cracks a whole new audience because they’re portable, cheap and readers pass them along. Tell me what you think.

Oh, and before I forget, one of my reps called me Saturday afternoon to say that she loved the project I finished last week. Remember that I made my deadline which is no small thing for me. (Shout it from the rooftops). When I saw the Caller I.D. I knew it was good news. In Hollywoodland, agents/managers/lawyers NEVER make weekend calls unless it’s good news. Or “special” news as the Crown Prince said. His response, and the response of three other friends, was “Damn, a Saturday call. Really.” It was nice that she was so excited about the project because if you go back in the archives you’ll read that she read my ass the riot act back in April. I got dressed down like I was a snotty-nosed, breast-fed little punk. The worst thing about it all was that I deserved it. I melted down, of course, but even in the middle of that special little freak out I couldn’t even lie to myself about the fact that she’d told the truth. I was being lazy, I was flip about my deadlines, etc. etc. I had the vapors for one afternoon and then I got down to business. So, it felt good to hear her enthusiasm but the more sobering fact is that I recognize that it needs WAY more work than she thinks. Back to work for me and on to the next deadline, August 31st, which is the book deadline. Send good thoughts.

Finally, all is well in the world, PROJECT RUNWAY is back on the air. Enjoy.

Until next time. . .

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