Wednesday, December 17, 2008

HELP SAVE IN OTHER WORDS BOOKS!


The recent economic crisis has been tough on a lot of individuals and businesses, but is seems that independent bookstores are especially vulnerable at this time. A couple weeks ago I received an email from the folks over at Robin's Bookstore (Philadelphia) saying they were closing at the end of this month. Now this morning, I received an email from In Other Words Books (Portland) asking for help. They need to raise $11,000.00 by the end of the month or they will have to close their doors. I am sending off a donation now. Please read below and do what you can.

We can't afford to lose another independent bookstore!

From the In Other Words Board

Please help us save In Other Words: Women's Books & Resources, the last
remaining non-profit feminist bookstore in the country!

In Other Words, like so many bookstores, has fallen upon incredibly hard
financial times. With the decline in our current economy, we have
experienced severely decreased revenue. *If we are unable to raise
$11,000 by the end of December, In Other Words will have to close its
doors.*

We desperately need your help. *We are confident that if everyone who
cares about In Other Words makes a contribution, large or small, we will
meet our goal. * Please give as generously as you can to save the last
remaining non-profit, feminist bookstore in the country: the place where
so many Portland artists, activists, organizers, readers, writers,
political thinkers, musicians and poets find their voice, their power,
their community, and their political home.

*Our community cannot afford to lose In Other Words, please help us save
her!
*
You can make your tax-deductible donations on the In Other Words website
or by stopping into the store (8 NE Killingsworth). To donate on our
secure donation page on the website: www.inotherwords.org
and then click on ?Support In Other Words?

*Please forward this widely to your community, we need all the help we
can get!*

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Charis Books: Last Stop on the Tour Train


That's it! Last night was the final Just Like A Girl reading for 2008. Charis Books and Zami(in the ATL) were our hosts for the evening. Contributors Julie Senger (Just Like A Girl) and Tashamee Dorsey (Growing Up Girl) joined me to bring the tour to a close. I was very grateful to have them there. They are both wonderful writers and beautiful spirits.

I absolutely limped into this reading. I was exhausted. For a reason, I'm still not sure of, I scheduled this tour to be pulled off in 5 months. Almost every weekend (and a couple weekdays) I was on the road. Fourteen cities and several hundred miles were covered in that time. With Growing Up Girl it took me over a year to cover that kind of territory. I'm not sure what the hurry was about but I wont do that again!

For those who read this blog for tips on running your own press or self-publishing and promoting your work - here are a few concrete ones.

Pace yourself - especially if you are a one person show. When you are responsible for booking the readings, shipping the books, filling the orders, reserving the flights, cars, hotel rooms, AND being present at the readings - that is a lot to handle. You will start to feel the fatigue and the sense you are operating in a divided mind (which is not great if you have to make significant business decisions).

Ask for help! I can't tell you how much I suck at this. Part of it is about my personality, but the other part is that doing something like this really can be an isolating endeavor. You spend a lot of time by yourself and you get in the headset that you have to do everything. Not true. Especially when it becomes clear that you are not going to be good at everything or have the resources to pull everything off.


At the end of the tour I started to run out of money and energy. Because I depend on the sale of the books (Hey! have you bought a couple copies for the holidays?) to pay for every aspect of the tour it can get a little sketchy. This tour required more flying and as we all know - airfare has been out of this world! My starting budget for the tour did not factor in four dollar gas and $15 first bag check-in fees. In the end, after much fretting, I had to ask my sister to put my ticket to Atlanta on her credit card. She was more than happy to. For some reason I thought it was going to be an imposition. In all the worrying I forgot that my family and friends want me to succeed and are more than willing to do what they can to get me where I am trying to go.

Write Everything Down!! Besides having your master marketing plan, you have to keep a list of "stuff" you will need while you are on the road or just traveling to your local bookstore for a reading. I make a "pack list" every time I have a reading. From my toiletries to how many books I need to have on hand, I write it down. I know you think your mind is a steel trap, but you WILL forget something. Trust me, it sucks to get somewhere and realize that you forgot the camera or your slacks or the address to the hotel where you are staying.

Pack Light. Leave your favorite pillow at home. Take only what you need. It is easier to keep track of your stuff and get through airport security this way. At this point, I got this process down to a science. Yesterday I only took a backpack with me. I squeezed my laptop, change of clothes and shoes, toiletries, cameras, and books in that puppy. I sailed through the airport. It was a very efficient trip (not counting the three hour layover)!

Be Flexible! No matter how much you plan or try to anticipate - something is going to go wrong. That's just how the Universe is. US Airway is going to cancel your flight and saddle you with a three hour layover (putting you at your destination with just an hour to get ready for your reading). Jerome at Alamo is going to say something crazy to you and forget the power cord to the $11.95 a day GPS that you desperately need to get around. While away from your home base (in a totally different city) you will get an email from the bookstore saying they never got their shipment and you have to pay an extra 50 bucks to overnight them another batch before the reading. All of this is annoying, but not earth shattering. Your problem solving skills will kick in and everything will work out -one way or another. Promise.

The rest of 2008 will consist of me filling holiday orders, sleeping,and mapping out what 2009 needs to look like. When the tour starts back up I will be focused on mostly universities,colleges, and book clubs. And,oh yeah, reading the submissions for the new anthology Woman's Work!.

I want to thank everyone for the continued support of GirlChild Press. I really appreciate all the support and love. I look forward to your submissions, feedback, and positive energy.

Until Later!
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Friday, December 5, 2008

From Snowy Wisconsin


Lacey Louwagie and I held down the reading at A Room of One's Own. Thanks to everyone who came through, asked questions, and took pictures:)

Besides me whining about how frickin' cold Wisconsin is (why does anyone live in this state after September?), we had a nice talk about creating a space for writers, upcoming projects and why women don't write more sci-fi.

The bookstore staff was super great. Thanks Amanda for scheduling the reading and finding me a cool new journal and a copy of Junot Diaz's Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. If one more person tells me "you have to read this book!" Hopefully over the holidays I will be able to cuddle up with this work of genius.

Until then I am heading off to L.A for some fun and hopefully a new writing gig. Then next Friday, we wrap up this five month adventure at Charis Books in Atlanta,GA.

I look forward to seeing everyone there:)

Until Later
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Thursday, December 4, 2008

On the Road Again!

Nearing the finish line of the 2008 Just Like A Girl Book Tour. On Friday,December 5th I'll be reading at A Room of One's Own in Madison, WI at 6:30pm. Contributors will be in the house and I anticipate a good reading. If you are in the area please come by and check us out.

Then after a layover in L.A. for a few days, I'll head to the ATL on December 12th for the VERY LAST READING OF THE YEAR!
Cue the fireworks!!!

We are reading at Charis Books at 8:00pm. The super fabulous contributor Julie Senger will be joining me. I would love to go out with a bang so please come through and show us some love AND buy books:)

Until Later
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Friday, November 28, 2008

Holiday Savings from GirlChild Press


Looking for the perfect holiday gift? Then you've come to the right place. Get your copy of Just Like A Girl: A Manifesta! and save $5.00 plus get free shipping. You can also get free shipping on Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces


If you are interested in a bulk purchase(12 copies or more) you can email us at girlchildpress@aol.com for a special rate. Please place "Special Bulk Rate" in the subject header.

The holiday special ends on January 2, 2009. PURCHASE HERE

Thursday, November 27, 2008

HAPPY THANKSGIVING


I make it habit to say my "thank yous" throughout the year, but I am totally aware that this year has been full of an extraordinary amount of abundance. There is so much to be grateful for. So many wonderful people who have supported the press, the writers, and me. I can absolutely confirm that that unfailing supportive energy is all you really need to take most of the big steps in your life. I am lucky to constantly have that energy around me and pushing me forward.

I hope you all have the same.

HAPPY THANKSGIVING

Until Later
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Sunday, November 16, 2008

NEW CALL FOR SUBMISSIONS

Woman’s Work: The Short Stories

Part of the problem is that I treat writing like a privilege not an obligation. It comes after everything, after all my other responsibilities.
Maegan “la Mala” Ortiz
My Writing Life


Woman’s Work: The Short Stories is a celebration of what happens when women finally get to the page. About the extraordinary stories that spill out of these extraordinary, and often ignored, storytellers during those stolen moments when she surrenders to her burning desire to write, to create.

GirlChild Press seeks the fresh and exciting voices of writers that can entice the reader with intricate tales of shapeshifters and evil doppelgangers, rock and roll princesses in twisted fairy tales, broken gunslingers in deserted western towns, and political murder mysteries that lead to sex in illicit places.

We will follow her through rabbit holes and pop up as mermaids dressed in camouflage, all while reveling in a romance that bloomed on a long-forgotten battlefield in outer space. Surprises will await us at every corner. We will discover what is passionate, and pure, and complicated and be glad for it.

Ultimately, Woman’s Work is about women as master storytellers.

Submission Requirements

• Deadline: March 1, 2009
• No more than 2 previously unpublished short stories per submission
• Simultaneous submissions okay, but notify if your work is accepted elsewhere
• 4,000 words or less
• Double spaced
• NO POETRY

All contributors will receive a copy of the anthology and will be invited to read at the book launch in 2009.

Electronic Submissions

Girlchildpress@aol.com
Title of submission should be placed in the subject line.
Please include your name, email address, mailing address, phone number, and short bio with your submission.

Snail Mail
GirlChild Press
PO Box 93
Hyattsville, MD 20781

Please include your name, email address, mailing address, phone number, and short bio with your submission


GirlChild Press publishes work that celebrates the triumph, defiance, and excellence of girls and women everywhere!

For more information about GirlChild Press visit www.girlchildpress.com

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quote of the Day


There is a special place in hell for women who don't help other women.
-Madeline K. Albright

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Just Like A Girl Goes to Chicago

And no I didn't catch a glimpse of our new president or Oprah.

I did get a chance to meet contributors Kimberly Dixon, Sage Morgan-Hubbard and Latiffany Wright at Women and Children First Books. Meeting the contributors and hearing them read their work NEVER gets old.
You have not heard a persona poem until Sage lets loose on "If I were a Male" or Big Balls as I like to call it. Latiffany broke our hearts with "Still Breathing". And I personally have a thing for writers that can construct and pull off a convincing kid voice, and Kimberly did just that with "Narcissus" - the best little, self-centered 7 year-old I've heard in a longtime.

As I was getting on the plane this morning, I realized we only have two more readings for 2008. Our next stop is A Room of One's Own in Madison, Wisconsin on December 5th and then we wrap it up in Atlanta on December 12th at Charis Books.

If we are heading to your neck of the woods, don't miss the chance to come out and hear some wonderful writers!

Until Later!
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

BE THE CHANGE!

GO VOTE!
No matter how long the lines are, stay until you cast your ballot. No matter how imperfect you might think our country or political process is, cast that ballot! We are all due for a change:) And I know we have all been caught up in the presidential race but there are plenty of important local and state initiatives that also need your thoughtful attention.

I'm curious if we are going to get the mega lines I've seen on the news. I plan to be at my polling place when it opens, but just in case all my neighbors have the same idea, I'm going to take my journal with me (I'm sure there's going to be some great people watching opportunities) and my camera to document this historic election. Please let me know if anything interesting, crazy, or voter suppressiony (I know that is not a word) happens in your neck of the woods. HAPPY VOTING!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

A Weekend of Just Like A Girl


It has been a full weekend!
Friday night started with contributor Lynnette Mawhinney and I hosting a reading at Wooden Shoe Books. This Philly reading was better attended than the previous weekend, but I couldn't help teasing Lynnette with "Philly don't read!" To be fair, we were competing with Halloween and the fact that the Phillies were being feted with a parade at the stadium. In case you didn't read your memo - they won the world series. So the fact that anyone showed up is actually impressive.

Saturday afternoon I was joined by contributors Charneice Fox, Lisa Joyner, Tanisha Christie, Deesha Philyaw, Natalie Illum, JScales, Turquoise, and Lynnette (she made her way from Philly) on my home turf of Washington, DC. The cover girl for Just Like A Girl Katie Seitz and GirlChild's graphic designer Kendra Kuliga was also in the house. We took over the Langston Room of Busboys and Poets and had a fabulous reading. A very nice blend of poetry and storytelling.

I am touched by all the support and the wonderful things that were said about GirlChild Press. Faye Williams (Sisterspace and Books) was especially eloquent and generous. She has always been one of my number one cheerleaders, encouraging me to push harder and go farther than I think I can. Her encouragement didn't stop with me, she demanded that folks in attendance continue to support independent presses and artists. Folks, that's the only way that we will flourish.

Today, I am preparing for my trip to Chicago, where we will read at Women and Children First Books on November 7th at 7:30. I am also spending time finishing up the call for submissions for the 2009 anthology Woman's Work: The Short Stories. I'll post it tomorrow.

Toss in the time change (an extra hour to sleep!) and it has been a wonderful weekend.

Until Later!
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Thursday, October 30, 2008

On the Air with Joe's Place


Always a pleasure to swing by Joe's Place and talk poetry and the world. Joe Gorham is a very cool guy and likes to take you on a cerebral adventure on every show. About ten minutes into the show I felt like we should have opened the phone lines and gave folks some free therapy.

We covered some real deep topics (incest, domestic violence, body image, and parental involvement). If you got a chance to catch the show please comment on the blog and let me know what you thought.

Thanks to Joe and his producer Kimberly Washington for always finding time for me to come by and talk about the newest GirlChild Press project.

To catch me handing out therapy live - we have two readings this week.

Friday, October 31, 2008 - 8:00pm
Wooden Shoe Books
Philadelphia, PA

OR

Saturday, November 1, 2008 - 4:00pm
Busboys and Poets
Washington, DC

Until Later!
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Saturday, October 25, 2008

What would you do if you had a Just Like A Girl reading and (almost) nobody came?


You talk about raising boys.

I was half way to Philly (in a surprisingly heavy rainstorm) when it occurred to me that folks might not be willing to brave the rain to come out to a reading. Count me psychic...'cause not one person came to the reading at Big Blue Marble Books.

I love this bookstore. They were one of the first bookstores to setup a reading for Growing Up Girl ,where we had a packed house. But clearly today was not going to be a repeat performance.

At 3:30, when it was clear there would be no reading, a Mom came into the store. She was not looking for the reading. She was killing time until her teenage son was finished with his community services hours next door at the local coop. She asked what the book was about. I told her. For some reason that encouraged her to talk about her son.

She was chatty and funny and realistic. It seems that the last four years had been crazy challenging with her son and she was clear that no book she had every read (and there seemed to be a ready list floating around in her head) helped her get control of her kid. Mom was a self described control freak who had her whole life mapped out when it came to how she would parent her kids (she has a daughter who is "easy as pie"), but eventually had to "put my personality in a blender and push puree." Her advice to parents, "put your expectations down when comes to raising kids." With that decisive edict, she zipped out of the store to go check that her kid was where he was supposed to be.
As soon as the door slammed I had to laugh. Not at her, but at myself. 29 minutes before she had walked in, I had been trying to talk myself out of a mood that was steadily creeping up on me. I was annoyed that I had driven two and half hours, in the rain, to be at the reading that no one showed up to - or so I thought.

Actually, I was sitting in the very empty loft reading room for a very different reason. Before I left home today, I was sketching out the call for submissions for the Woman's Work short story project (look for the call on November 1st) and also jotting down some ideas for the parenting handbook that is also slated to come out in 2009. I had already broken down the chapters and was trying to figure which "expert" I was going to assign to each. I was also asking myself what tone I wanted for the book. But after listening to this mom it was clear I was coming at this project from all the wrong directions. By the time a parent picks up How to Grow a Girl (tentative title), they are probably far down the path of parenting and looking for some concrete and sanity-saving information. I need to go back to the drawing board on this one. And regarding the tone - I think chatty, funny, and realistic is probably going to be the best choice.

Sometimes you really do have to go on a journey to find what you are looking for.

We will have a "do over" opportunity for Philly on Friday, October 31st at 8:00pm. Come check us out at Wooden Shoe Books. Don't leave me sittin' up in there by myself this time:) I don't think I can be Zen twice in the same month.


Until Later!
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Just Like A Girl Does Baltimore


After a string of readings over the last few days, we ended the week at Red Emma's Bookstore. A surprising number of folks showed up for the 6:00pm reading. I didn't have high expectations because the reading was smack dab in the middle of rush hour traffic and I don't have any Baltimore contributors. But folks (with credit cards) made the effort to get there. They squeezed into the small reading space and spent an hour experiencing all things Just Like A Girl.

The highlight of the evening was getting to meet contributors Melissa McEwen(left) and Trish Ayers (right). Melissa actually traveled from Connecticut to be at the reading (very cool), and Trish was visiting her daughter in Baltimore - who happens to live down the street from Red Emma's (perfect). They are both very talented and lovely women. Also in attendance was Trish's infant grandson Jack Henry who experienced his first poetry reading. You're never too young for poetry.

All in all, a good reading. I have about a week off before heading to the City of Brotherly Love - Philly. Big Blue Marble Books is hosting us on Saturday, October 25 at 3:00pm. Come by and check us out.

Until Later!
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ten Years of Mothertongue


I was at Keene State College earlier this week and one of the students asked why I had chosen to establish a press specifically for the work of girls and women. I gave some superficial, not well thought out answer. Something about being a girl, blah, blah, blah.

What I should have said was mothertongue. mothertongue is DC's longest running women's only spoken word open mic. This organization has been a part of my life for the last 8 years. I stumbled into the venue on a cold, rainy April night and never stopped coming back. Our website says "mothertongue is a community-based organization that works to create a safe space where all women may speak freely and powerfully and have their creative and artistic voices heard." But mothertongue has evolved into far more than that. Over the last ten years, national and local artist have used the stage to hone their skills, grow their fan base, and totally rock DC!

My first time on the mothertongue stage was after a couple months of attending the shows. I had been grinding out some poetry as a result of a messy break up and was contemplating signing up to read. When I got to the show, with my friend Tessa in tow, who totally hates poetry of all kind, I chickened out. In 2000, over 250 people (women and men) where attending the mothertongue shows on a regular basis, and I couldn't imagine getting up in front of them, offering up what I thought was anemic love poetry. But my friend Tessa thought differently. For whatever reason the poetry was a little off that night (nice way of saying bad) and she was convinced that anything that I had to share had to be way better than what we were being subjected to (her words, not mine).

Out of nowhere I heard my name as "the next poet up to the mic." When did I become a poet? Why did Tessa sign me up? How many people had thrown up on the stage from being petrified? But when my turn came, I got up there. I immediately lowered the bar of expectation (sorta like what they did with Sarah Palin and the debates) and declared that my friend had put me up to this and if I sucked they could blame her.

Then something completely unfamiliar and amazing happened. I opened my mouth and I was good! Through my poetry I shared, with this charged and rowdy crowd, how my love affair with the crazy, southern lawyer had gone south (pun intended). On that stage, I could be funny and pathetic and mad and good. As the last verse rang out into the large performance space of the Black Cat the crowd went CRAZY. They clapped and stomped and whistled. They affirmed me in a huge way.

Eight years later and I can absolutely claim that moment as life changing. The moment that I embraced my identity as a poet and writer. In gratitude for that affirmation, over the years I have served as the organization's Poet Liaison, sat on the board, and taught workshops. Even now I am still amazed by the power that this venue has to enrich and buoy women's lives. I don't perform as much as I use to because life has gotten super hectic, but I always leave the second Wednesday of the month open to attend the monthly show. As we celebrate our tenth year we are going through some transitions. Natalie Illum is stepping down as the longtime Board President (the enthusiastic Danielle is taking over), the shows are moving to an every other month format, and the crowds are not as big as they once were.

But what does remain - the enthusiasm and support for women as artists and writers and that much needed safe space.


Until Later
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

GirlChild Press Goes to School


Spent the last two days in Keene, New Hampshire.
Both Keene State and Antioch University adopted Growing Up Girl:An Anthology as a textbook and invited me up to talk about the book, what it takes to publish women's work, and introduce the newest anthology.

My first stop was Keene State. The book is being used in their Women and Psychology class. Professor Morris (that's her to the left) is using the book to explore the various population of women (of color, queer, incarcerated, lower income, pregnant, overcoming mental health challenges) that her students will be assisting as they move into their careers as school counselors and clinicians. Professor Morris was the first person to suggest that the anthology would be a perfect addition to counseling and social work classes. I am grateful that she had that brainstorm and continues to utilize the book in this manner. This is her third semester using the anthology!

The second stop was Antioch University. Their Human Development class is using the anthology. Contributor Elizabeth Farrell (and her hubby Peter) joined me for the midday reading and discussion. I love meeting the contributors! Finally putting the voice and face with the piece is so wonderful.

The Antioch students were a great group. They were really excited about getting to know the kinds of clients they will encounter in their practice and they really seemed to get that they will have to be imaginative risk takers if they mean to effect change.

During the discussion they suggested that I explore transforming some of the works from the anthology into a Vagina Monologue-style reading. I've been told this before, it's just a matter of figuring out how and making time. For now it's just on my long "to do" list.

I have about 24 hours to rest up before the next reading. We are heading to Red Emma's Books in Baltimore, MD on Friday, October 17, 2008 at 6:00pm. I hope you can join us.

Until Later
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Sunday, October 12, 2008

I HEART NYC!


We had the fourth Just Like A Girl reading at one of my favorite radical, independent book stores - Bluestockings. We had a great turn out and an amazing blend of contributors (nine in all). It was a perfect night. The reading was sassy and funny (line of the night belongs to contributor Trina Porte), and good - just like the anthology.

Special thanks to contributors Kelly Zen-Yie Tsai, Maegan Ortiz, Penelope Laurence (who came in from Canada), Sarah Herrington, Ellen Hagan, Trina Porte, Lisa Joyner, K. Coleman Foote, and Lezlie Frye who came out and shared their work. Check out our pictures on facebook and see who else was there.

Next stop - New Hampshire.

Until Later!
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Friday, October 3, 2008

Another One Bites the Dust


With the talk of financial institutions closing left and right over the last few weeks, the news of a D.C. institution closing might have gotten lost in the fray. After 36 years of being Washington's oldest independent bookstore - Olsson Books and Records closed on Tuesday. They succumbed to the financial pressure facing many business, especially independent bookstore.

On the bookstore's website Olsson's general manager Stephen Wallace-Haines stated: "In the end, all the roads towards reorganization led to this dead end: we did not have the money required to pay for product in advance, to collect reserves to buy for Christmas, and satisfy the demands of rent and operational costs. We were losing money just by staying open."

Are there bailouts for book stores?

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Bailouts and Book Buying


Like most folks I am worried about the economy and curious (and slightly annoyed) about the potential...who are we kidding...inevitable bailout of Wall Street (I think the House votes on the plan on Monday).

700 billion dollars! Really?

What is clear is that the bailout will be financed by the taxpayers. There is no magic pot of money sitting somewhere ready to be tapped into to fund this financial catastrophe. Why was this allowed to get so far out of hand? Why does Wall Street believe that the government should help them out of the hole they have dug for themselves? What happened to "the market will correct itself" and personal responsibility? I know all the talking heads are saying we don't have a choice at this point, and the bailout MUST happen or our economy is going to spiral even deeper into chaos. According to the Treasury secretary Henry Paulson, we are moments from a depression. If what they are saying is true, and the mismanagement by the folks on Wall Street is inextricably tied to the financial well-being of the people of America (if not the world), then why weren't they keeping an eye on our financial cousins all along? Aren't there people, paid good ass money, in charge of keeping track of all this. Didn't they see this coming?

Every day there appears to be a new casualty. On Thursday, WaMu Bank (biggest bank to fail in US history) went down the toilet (assets sold to JP Morgan Chase for 1.9 billion dollars). The week before, Lehman Brothers filed bankruptcy, and AIG received some sort of "favorite nation" status when they received a $85 billion bailout from the feds. This after we threw out life preservers to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac earlier in the month. And let's not forget that the dollar is as weak as atrophied legs on a coma patient. As the folks on the Hill try and come up with a plan that takes care of "Wall Street and Main Street," I have to ask - why were these banks allowed to dispense all these risky loans to people and businesses that they knew couldn't repay them?

When I was buying my house five years ago, just before the market became so inflated that the same house I purchased for less than $200,000, could be sold "as is" for $350.000; I was informed by my financial officer that according his calculations that I could actually afford to borrow $300,000. On what planet? He informed me that although my house was relatively cheap, I could borrow the rest of the money to make major renovations on the house and increase its value. Okay...but I can't afford a $2,000 house note. Again, he assured me that he could "work a deal" and the note wouldn't be that high - initially. That's right- an ARM. He told me I was smart and talented and he just knew that I would be making an additional $10,000 before the ARM went into affect. Seriously? I told him I worked for a nonprofit. End of story. But clearly a lot of folks let these financial wizards talk them into homes (cars, credit cards, investments) they couldn't afford in the long run, and when the bill came due, they were screwed royally.

So what does the the failing economy and looming bailouts have to do with book buying? Everything. In fact it is impacting every area of our society. When you are paying $4.00 for gas, barely keeping up with your mortgage, and trying to keep food on your family's table, you suddenly have to start making choices, and a book comes off the must have item list, very quickly. Unless of course you are selling how to make money and survive financial meltdowns -then those might be bestsellers.

When I started the production of Just Like A Girl I was unaware, that in a year, we (as in the US) would be in such deep doodie - economically. Now that I am selling and marketing the book it is absolutely apparent. With this new information I've had to make adjustments, rethink how I book readings (especially on the west coast - since the price to fly has doubled),and how many review copies of the anthology I can send out. I've had to step up my marketing of the book with an emphasis on sales through the GirlChild Press website (Amazon.com makes 55% on each sale of the book through their site) and crunching the numbers on what bulk sales vs individual sales will look like over the next 6 months. Since I know that Uncle Sam will not be coming by GirlChild Press anytime soon, and writing me a bailout check to keep it afloat, I will have to be a good fiscal manager and make realistic and responsible decisions to insure that the Press will be around for many more years. What a novel concept.


Until later!
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Pacific Northwest. Check.

In a couple hours I'll be boarding a plane back to DC and I can count my trip to Oregon a success. Shaindel (rhymes with candle) and I made the four hour trek to Portland from Pendleton yesterday to read at In Other Words Bookstore. If you are in the Portland area and have never been to the store, please check them out. They are a marvelous, eclectic feminist bookstore, and unfortunately there are very few left in the country.

This was actually a much smaller reading than the first night. I haven't quite figured out the formula for how these things should work. You would think that being in a larger city would yield more people, but Shaindel reminded me that in smaller towns people have far less entertainment choices, so when something different or interesting is an option they will definitely check it out. Good point. For what the reading lacked in size, they made up for it by buying books. Every sale brings the Press closer to meeting the goal of selling 5,000 books in a year.

Our next reading is October 5, 2008 @ 2:00pm at The Writer's Center in Bethesda, Maryland. If you are in the area come by.

Until later!
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pendleton. It Kicks!


That's the town motto! I love it! Pendleton is definitely a cowboy town. In fact, I missed the annual "Round-Up" by a week. I'm told the entire social calendar for September factors in the influx of cowboys and rodeo people in to Pendleton. My first impression of the city - it is a beautiful, but eerily quiet, place.

I'm glad folks weren't too worn out from the rodeo to come out and attend the first official reading for the book. I'm sure contributor Shaindel Beers (that's her above) had something to do with that. We had a full house - in library terms - and it was a fun and relaxed reading. Shout out to Mary Finney (librarian extraordinaire) for the juice and cookies, and the very sweet certificate.

We had a robust discussion about women writers, how to encourage young writers, writing and trauma, and what it takes to operate and keep a press on track - while working a "good government job".

What it sometimes takes, is bringing a heavy-ass shipment of anthologies across the country to readings. I had originally booked the Portland reading first, so their books were shipped well in advance. By the time the Pendleton reading was set up, I decided to bring the books with me to make sure they got here on time. I was definitely not looking forward to lugging them back to D.C.

Well, the Pendleton folks did not disappoint. During the book signing portion of the program, they bought everything in sight! It is always great to see the anthologies being purchased in twos and threes and fours! It was also wonderful to hear why folks were purchasing the books: to encourage a young writer in their life, to help someone get through a traumatic period, to introduce themselves to new voices.

I am sort of bummed that I don't have any Growing Up Girl copies left to take to the Portland reading tonight, but it's a nice problem to have.

Shaindel and I head off to Portland later this afternoon - it is about four hours away from Pendleton - and I look forward to a great reading there as well. I'll report back tomorrow.

Until then!
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Milestones and High Expectations


As of today, GirlChild Press has sold 2,500 copies of Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces! For an independently published book that is pretty damn good. A lot of hard work has gone into this anthology over the last two years and I am glad folks are still interested in the book. Now with the release of the new anthology Just Like A Girl: A Manifesta! I am setting some really high expectations.

Over the next 12 months, my goal is to sell 5,000 copies of Just Like A Girl. Don't make that face. It is totally doable. It is all about getting the word out on this wonderful, funny, and powerful anthology. I'm not overstating when I tell you that the JLAG contributors have put their foot in it (go find a southern friend and ask them what the hell that means). They have crafted some amazing and unique work and you will be blown away by the wonderful and resilient world of GIRL that they have created.

Every day I feel honored that I have been given the resources to create a space where women and girls can construct and tell their stories. The mission is simple and straightforward: publish work that celebrates the triumph and defiance of girls and women, and provide a quality forum to bring their diverse voices to the foreground.

Here is a few ways you can help the press reach the "5,000 copies sold" goal:

1. Buy a copy of the book - www.girlchildpress.com/products.html

2. Buy your mama a copy of the book - www.girlchildpress.com/products.html

3. Tell your friends to buy the book - www.girlchildpress.com/products.html

4. If you work for an organization with a budget, buy a bunch of books (bulk orders of 10 copies or more will receive a discount) www.girlchildpress.com/products.html

5. Pass the word and encourage everyone you know (and even a couple strangers) to buy the book www.girlchildpress.com/products.html

6. Set up a Just Like A Girl reading at your school, bookstore, church, office, book club, sorority, or any place you want us to come.

And if you want to meet some of the fabulous writers, in the amazing book you have purchased, check out the tour schedule below and see if we are coming to your neck of the woods.

Just Like A Girl: A Manifesta! 2008 Tour Schedule

Friday, December 12, 2008 - 8:00pm
Charis Books
1189 Euclid Avenue
Atlanta, GA
www.charis.booksense.com

Friday, December 5, 2008 - 6:30pm
A Room of One's Own Feminist Bookstore
307 W. Johnson Street
Madison, WI 53703
www.roomofonesown.com

Friday, November 7, 2008 - 7:00pm
Women and Children First
5233 N. Clark Street
Chicago, IL
www.womenandchildrenfirst.com

Saturday, November 1, 2008 - 4:00pm
Busboys and Poets
2021 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC
www.busboysandpoets.com

Friday, October 31, 2008 -
Wooden Shoe Books
508 S. 5th Street
Philadelphia, PA
www.woodenshoebooks.com

Saturday, October 25, 2008 - 3:00pm
Big Blue Marble Books
551 Carpenter Street
Philadelphia, PA
www.bigbluemarblebooks.com

Friday, October 17, 2008 - 6:00pm
Red Emma's Bookstore
800 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202
www.redemmas.com

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 12:00pm
Antioch University
Keene, NH

Monday, October 13, 2008 -11:00pm
Diana Cage Show
Sirius Radio (channel 109)
New York, NY
*in studio interview

Saturday, October 11, 2008 - 7:00pm
Bluestockings Books
172 Allen Street
(between Stanton and Rivington)
New York, NY
www.bluestockings.com

Sunday, October 5, 2008 - 2:00pm
Writer's Center
4508 Walsh Street
Bethesda, MD
www.writer.org

Wednesday, September 24, 2008 - 6:30pm
In Other Words Books
8 NE Killingsworth Street
Portland, OR
www.inotherwords.org

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - 7:00pm
Pendleton Library
502 S.W. Dorion Ave.
Pendleton, OR
www.pendleton.or.us/library.htm

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Bristol Palin and Jamie Lynn Spears




Besides battling this heinous, unexpected summer cold, I’ve found myself oddly fixated on the Republicans this morning. Sarah Palin made her VP nomination acceptance speech last night. I didn’t watch (couldn’t keep my head up). I am sure I can catch it on youtube before the day is out. I did read about it this morning and like most folks this week I am fascinated by this “gun tottin’, hottie, hockey mom.” Of course I am wondering how is she qualified to be the VP with such limited experience, but more so I am wondering how she and her family are holding up under the glare and public scrutiny. How is she reconciling her feelings around her pregnant daughter with her abstinence-only and no sex education in schools stance? Does it hold up under this unexpected life situation? Should we judge her because her daughter did what thousands of teens do every day? Is the bar higher because Sarah Palin is a Christian, or anti-choice, or pro-guns, or the governor of Alaska – that she should have had her daughter “under control.” Is she any different from any parent that is trying to do their best, but can’t control every second that their child is out of their sight? I guess it is easy to judge her because she’s taken on such an absolute stance on some vital women’s issues. Maybe, like a few blogger have pointed out, it’s karma. So busy trying to police everyone else’s life, you’re not policing your own – sort of thing. I think it’s more ironic. Or maybe it’s just life.

Does any of this seem weird to all the folks who were cheering her on last night?


I don’t know if I would advise (or pressure) my 17 year old daughter to marry her 18 year old boyfriend. Having that baby is going to be hard enough without the added stress of a marriage under ill-timed circumstances, played out in front of the country. I saw a picture of Bristol Palin’s boyfriend Levi in the receiving line at some Republican event and he looked like a deer in headlights. I wonder what his parents think of all this? At 18, he has to be fighting the urge to bolt. Especially now that his “manning up” is being played out for the Republican Party and the rest of us. What pressure.

I do find it interesting, besides the “leave our children out of this campaign” stance that both sides have endorsed but the kids are in every family photo-op, that when you try to compare Bristol Palin with Jamie Lynn Spears folks bristle up. How are they different? I remember when it came out that Jamie Lynn was preggers folks really tried to come for her mother Lynn Spears. She had allowed Hollywood to corrupt her child and Jamie Lynn’s teen pregnancy was a result of her careless parenting. For Bristol we have heard that no one is perfect. That in the face of a difficult situation Bristol (and her mother) had stuck to her faith and belief that each child deserves life and she was keeping her baby. And best yet, she was marrying the soon-to-be baby daddy.

Line them up side by side and both these young women sound very much a like. They were both having unprotected sex. They both chose to keep their babies (Jamie Lynn clearly has enough money that she could have had an abortion and no one would have had a clue), both their families have professed their love and support for their daughters, and both their baby daddies have promised to marry them (and no I don’t think either one of them has any business rushing into to a marriage to placate anyone who is judging them for getting pregnant, either).

How are they different? I guess because some people sees Bristol’s mom as an upstanding governor with aspirations of the White House, while Jamie Lynn’s mom is a Louisiana hillbilly stage mother.

I’m going to go blow my nose and take some Robitussin.

Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Just Like A Girl is Officially on Tour!


Check out our current readings and keep checking back here or on the website www.girlchildpress.com for more dates. If you don't see your city on the list let us know what bookstore, university, or book club we should contact and we'll make it happen. There are a lot of exciting things in store for this book! Our goal is to make Just Like A Girl: A Manifesta! a bestseller. You can help us by telling everyone you know about the anthology and coming out to see us at the various readings. We are looking forward to meeting you all!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008 - 12:00pm
Antioche University
Keene, NH

Saturday, October 11, 2008 - 7:00pm
Bluestockings Books
172 Allen Street
(between Stanton and Rivington)
New York, NY
www.bluestockings.com

October 5, 2008 - 2:00pm
Writer's Center
4508 Walsh Street
Bethesda, MD
www.writer.org

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 - 7:00pm
Pendleton Library
502 S.W. Dorion Ave.
Pendleton, OR
www.pendleton.or.us/library.htm

Saturday, August 30, 2008 - 6:00pm
UNOBSTRUCTED radio interview
(click link to listen)
http://www.blogtalkradio.com/onword/2008/08/30/UNOBSTRUCTED-hosted-by-Alaina-RAlexander

Sunday, August 31, 2008

We're on the Air!


Had the great honor of being on Alaina Alexander's radio show UNOBSTRUCTED. Thirty minutes of me talking about GirlChild Press and the new anthology Just Like A Girl.

This is the jumping off point for the book tour so keep checking back for tour dates and special appearances. I am looking forward to meeting you all!
Click the link below and give it a listen.

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/onword/2008/08/30/UNOBSTRUCTED-hosted-by-Alaina-RAlexander

Also check out Alaina's site at www.alainaralexander.com

Thursday, August 21, 2008

What's in a Name?

A rose by any other name...blah blah blah.
My friend Charneice can't move forward in any writing assignment unless she picks the perfect title for the project. I usually mock her for this OCD quality of hers, but I've found myself sweating over a title for a new writing project for the last couple days. I am stuck, stuck, stuck, and can't move on until I nail a really good one.

Maybe you can help me out. Which of these titles would make you feel compelled to read more?

1. The Hudsons
2. And Baby Makes Two
3. Second Chances
4. Soul Mates (I hate this one - just so you know)
5. Here We Are
6. Sushi and Sake
7. A Perfect Life
8. None of the above

Let me know your thoughts.

Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

What I'm Reading

Every time I finish a writing assignment I find myself craving new reading material. Probably because I need to refill the well. Here is what I'm reading.

Get thy to a bookstore and get a copy of I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley. This New York Times Bestselling author is frickin' hysterical. The book contains about ten essays that cover being a reluctant maid of honor, what to do with ones pony collection before you parents find it, and the boss from hell. Sloane Crosley is totally laugh out loud funny. I will never again hear the word pony and not want to giggle.
I am just starting on Miranda July's book of stories No One Belongs Here More Than You and it is clear this is going to be excellent! I was introduce to the way Miranda's mind works when I rented her movie Me and You and Everyone We Know. Trippy stuff. Clearly an exceptional writer.
Just picked up Chelsy Handler's book My Horizontal Life. It's a collection of stories about her sex life (mostly one night stands). I can't say I am a huge fan of her comedy show, but she did get this great write up in Entertainment Weekly so I figured I would use my recently acquired Borders gift card and see what all the fuss is about. I read the first couple pages and she definitely has a way of telling a story. And can you go wrong when sex is the main subject?

And to round things off, I have the recent issues of Entertainment Weekly, Script Magazine, and Filmmaker for when I need inspiration around the business and technique of screenwriting and filmmaking.

What are you reading?

Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com






Sunday, August 10, 2008

Wouldn't It Just Be Easier to be Fat?!



For our annual two week beach vacation to Outer Banks, NC my girlfriend and I vowed to be more active. We were going to rent bikes, take walks, and run on the beach. This vow would challenge our notion that drinking a six pack of beer while putting on sunscreen does indeed qualify as cardio. This year we were not going to sit on the beach and get fat(ter)!

So when she suggested we go hiking at the Nags Head Woods Preserve, our first week there, I was game. We got to the preserve bright and early Saturday morning and was as prepared as you think you need to be when hiking at the beach: shorts, sunscreen, water, and a cute hat. The minute we got out of the car we were attacked by mosquitoes the size of newborns. So we did what any city girl would do; we got back in the car and headed off to Walgreens for an economy size of Deep Woods Off!



Dripping in Off, and like Bill Murray in Ground Hog Day, we returned to the scene of the crime to start over. Our first trail was an easy quarter mile stoll that we completed in five minutes. I was feeling proud of myself and ready to celebrate with some steaming pancakes at Stack'em High. But then some body started feeling like Ms. Adventure.

What you need to know about my traveling companion. She reports that she is part Native American. Specifically, the Lumbee Tribe. I'll wait while you go look it up. I didn't believe they existed either. You're back? You learn something new every day, right?

Anyway, Sacajawea, who considers herself a natural when it comes to directions, suggested that we take the Sweet Gum Trail, a half mile loop that would take you "deeper into the forest." As I adjusted my cute hat, I couldn’t help but think was I going to see anything different in the “deeper” part than I did in the nice easy part. Woods can’t be that dramatically different, can they? But I decided not to be a killjoy and go along with the program. Just because I couldn't find my way to the grocery store without activating the GPS, wasn't a reflection on her skills. Sweet Gum Trail it was.

What you need to know about me. If it doesn’t involve my computer, journal, or having cocktails with friends, I am scared of everything. So believe me, going along on this little vision quest, was me being a brave girl.

The first five minutes of the hike was relatively uneventful. Then we arrived at the first fork in the road and our first disagreement of the trip. I, the GPS dependent one, wanted to go straight(ish) while Pocahontas wanted to go left. We went left. I will save the cliff hanger for another story and let you know now that she was absolutely wrong!

For the next ten minutes we crawled up some steep embankment. Waded through a sea of spider webs. Got hit upside the head by a bunch of branches (from the famed sweet gum trees, I assume), and ended up in a leafy clearing that looked ripe for a bunch of crazy-ass militia people to come storming out of and killing us. Then the path just ended. I tried not to panic. Nothing just ends. Not even bad relationships. So we rooted around looking for where the path might pick back up. Now for all of you sitting there looking perplexed and wondering out loud why we didn’t just turn around and walk back out the way we came in, how do you think scary movies are made? You have to ignore the obvious answer or the story would be over in ten minutes.

After a couple half joking “where do we go from here, Pocahontas?” we saw the sandy trail on the other side of the trees. Surely we would be back at the visitor’s center in no time. As we trudged along, a thought, that I had been trying to suppress, broke free: We are lost! When I shared this little tidbit with my Indian Scout she immediately shot me down. According to Little Know It All Feather, “you can’t really get lost in a preserve.” It seems that because the Nature Conservancy oversees the woods that we were trudging around in this shielded us from getting lost in the over 420 acre maritime forest (one of three in the world).

Anyone want to guess what she got on the logic portion of the GRE?

I took a big breath and kept walking. After about ten more minutes we came upon a trail marker. The markers are used as sign post to let hikers know where they are on the trail and provide some fascinating fact about the spot that they are standing on. Sweet Gum Trail allegedly has 8 markers. The fascinating and concerning fact about this marker was that it had a number one on it. This should be impossible since we had been walking long enough that we should have seen at least five of these markers already. But not to be deterred or convinced we were lost - Ms. Adventure continued on. By the time we got to marker five I was convince we weren’t even on the Sweet Gum Trail anymore and started to envision what the evening news was going to say about us. Two Washington, DC black girls went missing at 8:30am at Nags Head Woods Preserve. One is believed to be wearing a cute hat. By the time CNN picked up the story, Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper would be rattling off the previous years statistics of the number of people who got lost in nature preserves, and questioning the authenticity of the Lumbee tribe.

At marker eight we saw a set of man-made steps that seemed to come out of nowhere. They were anachronistic to say the least, but we climbed them. Convinced that the visitor’s center would be at the top. It wasn’t. What was at the top was a sandy trail. The SAME sandy trail that we saw back at marker one. I had to resist the urge not to push Ms. Adventure back down the stairs. To her credit, she never caved in to me whining that we were lost. This of course annoyed me more.

By the time we got to another fork in the road, and I was sweating like a lost pig, I had had enough. I was not taking another step until she could guarantee that around the bend was the parking lot and our air condition equipped car. With a straight face she suggested that she could leave me there and hopefully come back when she found the visitor's center. The Jedi Mind Trick worked. I kept walking.

A couple of minutes later, like an oasis in the desert, the visitor’s center appeared through the tree line. I damn near ran over Ms. Adventure to get to the car. I ignored the sound of her laughter as I plopped down in the front seat and jacked up the air. She laughed even harder when she realized I was not talking to her.

What was supposed to be a twenty minute hike turned into 70 plus minutes of sheer terror! Okay, I might be overstating just a tad, but she better count herself lucky that I don't believe in violence.


Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Yoga and Writing



Learning Yoga has been hard for me. As a tall, big woman I don't find it easy to manage my body in all those frickin' poses that seems to be a part of this yoga thing! This morning during yoga class, I was reminded of the level of difficulty. As I was attempting to switch out of a diving dolphin (designed to strengthen your core)I actually fell over. No, not stumbled, or gently tripped. FELL OVER! Right before I hit the wood floor (with the loudest thud ever heard by man), I thought to myself -this is my last class!' Thankfully, no one laughed and everyone seemed to keep their eyes on their own pose. The instructor gently gave me some tips on how to "create a stronger foundation" and continued on like I hadn't just made it crystal clear why some people should never step foot into a yoga studio.

Toward the end of the class the instructor gave us a series of complicated instructions that took us through a triangle pose ending with a one-legged pose. Her objective, for most of the class, was to get us to be mindful how light we could make our bodies if we just connected to it and focused our energies on making it do what we wanted it to. As I stood there with sweat pouring down my back, I distinctly remember thinking this chick is full of shit! But because I have home training, I decided it was rude to walk out so close to the end of the class and I complied.

Surprisingly, before it was all over, I did find my leg "lightly gliding" up into the one-legged pose. I was so pleased with myself that I couldn't hide the big smile that spread across my face. That one little accomplishment made the entire 75 minutes class a success for me.

During the closing meditation it crossed my mind how similar yoga and writing is in my life. Both activities I've entered into with complete free will. Shouldn't that make them easier than they are?

Namaste,
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

A Place to Live - Amazing Documentary!

I've been in LA for the last week and boy is my head full(more on that in tomorrow's blog). One of the things I'm out here doing is supporting my friend Carolyn Coal whose documentary A Place to Live premiered this week, to a sold out crowd, at the
26th Annual Outfest Film Festival. The documentary follows 7 individuals as they attempt to secure a home in Triangle Square, Hollywood, the nation's first affordable housing project for LGBT seniors. This film will take you through a roller coaster of emotions. I pride myself on not being a big crier but even I bawled like a baby. For those in the LA area, Outfest has added a second showing of the documentary: Sunday, July 20, 2008 at 12:00 noon at the Regency Fairfax Theatre. If you are not in the LA area I'm sure the film will also make appearances in other film festivals around the country. For more info check out the website www.aplacetolivemovie.com and the trailer below.

Monday, July 7, 2008

The Tao of Will Smith


I've always been a moderate fan of Will Smith. Definitely dug him during his Fresh Prince (of Bel Air) days and I've seen a good number of his feature films since he's become a major movie star. Went to see "Hancock" this weekend - I give it a C. Entertaining, but too many "logic holes" that kept me picking the story apart a full day after I saw it.

After seeing the movie (not because of its quality), I started to think how has this black man become an INTERNATIONAL movie star. That's what he is considered. Any article or interview done on him, the fact that he "translates" all over the world will be discussed. So how does that happen? I've heard on more than a few occasions that films starring black folks just don't do that great beyond North America. The quest for the answer led me through this extensive information portal that landed me on youtube. I came across a few interviews with the international movie star himself, where he specifically talks about the translation issue.

His success formula come down to two things: research and hard work. When he started his transition to film, Will and his manager looked at the top ten all time grossing films and they discovered they were all action films. Action films with special effects. Action films with special effects and monsters. Action films with special effects and a love story. So Will decided that is what he would specialize in - action films (with any of those variations). This twelve year specialization now allows him to do any film that he wants (Hitch, Ali, Pursuit of Happyness) and because of his film choices he is by far the most bankable star on the planet. He says in Hollywood it is all about can you make the powers-that-be money. They don't care about your race as long as they get a return on their investment.

Will's stance on hard work is equally straightforward. For him, if he wants something he simply goes after it. He puts all his energy, focus and time on achieving his desired goal. He acknowledges that it seems like a pretty simple premise, but he says a lot of folks that he has seen come up short in his business is because they stopped short of giving it all they had. In the end someone else swoops in and takes that plum role or project. In being clear about his work ethic he says he never spends time "getting ready" because he is "always ready." He is always doing his homework and he is watching the trends as it pertains to his business. He freely admits he is a workaholic and more than has something to show for it.

After spending a couple hours on this informal research project I couldn't help but reflect on where I stood as it relates to Will's success formula. The hard work was definitely in place. I know how to log in the hours necessary to pull off a myriad of miracle projects. But the research piece has to get stronger. I need to feel more comfortable about knowing what I know. Where I come up short is not giving myself enough time to do the exhaustive research (not counting this pop culture moment)and applying it.

Hmmm, all this from a two hour, relatively okay movie. I guess lessons can come from all kinds of unexpected places.

Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Friday, June 27, 2008

Right On!

I guess the Universe got tired of my whining.
I just received word from the editor at Right On! magazine that Just Like A Girl: A Manifesta! will be highlighted in their October edition (will hit the newsstands in early September). YIPPEE!

Until Later!
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Monday, June 23, 2008

Blockage


No, I am not talking about the kind that has you running for a laxative or scheduling a high colonic (but a good metaphor is in there somewhere). I am talking about the kind of blockage that stops you from producing as an artist.

Over the last 6 weeks I've been on treadmill to nowhere or at least that's what it feels like. I've had tons of projects on my plate, but more than a few haven't gone exactly as I planned. The screenplay I was hired to write and that was slated to go into production this summer has stalled out, the comedy script I'm trying to write, in preparation for a prestigous fellowship, is feeling terribly unfunny, and I've sent out dozens of review copies of the most recent anthology and have not heard a peep back from any of the reviewers.

With all this lack of movement, I've gotten into this serious funk. I can't even keep up with my obligation to this blog. Mostly I've been questioning what the hell am I doing. Who told me I could be a screenwriter, an editor, a publisher, a poet, or an activist? All the things I love to do, but all of them feel like a chore right now.

I've been journaling about my anemic artist state for weeks, but it wasn't until I picked up my old copy of the Artist's Way this afternoon was I able to name what is going on with me. FEAR! Fear is the undoing of many an artist - most more talented than me. After reading through a couple of chapters I'm slowly coming to terms with what has been going on.

I'm in this stage of my artist's life where more than a few people have deemed me "good". Good enough to pay me for a product, good enough to book me for a gig, or good enought to pitch me an idea. Somewhere along the way "good" has been translated to "expectation" and that is freakin' me the hell out. What if they don't like what I've written and want their money back? What if they hate my reading or performance? What if they tell other people that I'm not that talented and they believe them. "What if" is driving me around the bend. In some ways it has frozen me - allowing the self-doubt to burrow deeper.

A lot of the things that I used to do, when there was no expectation, suddenly feel foreign and awkward. I'm feeling very self-aware - which in this case is not a good thing. I normally don't publicly write about my artistic struggles, but one of the things that The Artist's Way recommends is to speak the truth and free yourself of the myths that you are burdening yourself with. So I figured a public unburdening would do me good. My myth - that I must be perfect at everything I do - is stopping me from getting on with my current projects and discovering new projects.

What I like about The Artist's Way is that it is an action guide. Every chapter requires you to do something. Actually, a bunch of somethings. I read and completed The Artist's Way back in 2001 and one of the habits I've held on to are the morning pages. I journal every day! Journaling helps to get things out of your head and also helps you record patterns and trends. I took the time to read a couple of my journals this weekend and I discovered something very interesting - I've been on the way to an "artist crisis" for more than a few months now. Because I don't make a habit of reading my journals (when I'm finished with one I just stack it on my altar with the others and move on to another one)I wasn't able to see this coming. I've been lamenting in various ways that I feel like I need to make a major decision about how I am using my time (to create) and I've not been able to come up with a suitable solution. Mostly I've been trying to avoid the discomfort associated with a solution, but you can't hide from the inevitable and the Universe will keep bring "it" back to your attention.

I guess the only real way to free myself from this current state is to finally make that damn decision.

Stay tuned!

Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

16 @ War - Karian Pasian

Lisa Moore (Redbone Press) hipped me to this new young artist and I think she is singing about what a lot of the 16 year-old girls that I know are going through. Enjoy.




Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Book Sales, First Reading, and Q-Me Con 2008

I've really been on the hustle since returning from Santa Fe!
I'm happy to report that book sales are going really well. The response to the new anthology has been tremendous. Orders are literally coming from all over the country. I am happy. If you haven't gotten your copy yet head over to www.girlchildpress.com/products.html - I've extended the presale until May 5, 2008.

I am doing a lot of work around getting reviews for the book and starting to set up readings and appearances for the upcoming months. If you are in DC on May 6, 2008 please come meet some of the contributors at the monthly mothertongue open mic. We are the guest features for the night. This is a perfect time to get your copy signed by some of the most talented writers out there.

mothertongue open mic
May 6, 2008 @ 8:30
Black Cat
1811 14th Street, NW
Washington, DC

Next weekend I'll be a panelist at the Q-Me Con 2008 Women's Summit. We are discussing marketing on a grassroot level and how to get your work out to the masses. If you are in NYC come check us out and the entire weekend summit. I am really thrilled to be invited and I look forward to learning a few new tips myself.

Q-ME Con Women's Summit
May 9 - 11, 2008
Ripley Grier Studios
520 8th Ave.
New York, NY 10036

If you are interested in booking a reading for Just Like A Girl, Growing Up Girl, or having me out to talk to your organization, book club, sistercircle, or whatever, you can reach me at girlchildpress@aol.com

Until later.
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Trivia Tuesday

This is our last Trivia Tuesday. I hope you learned alot and won a copy of the book. If not you can always buy one:) www.girlchildpress.com/products.html


Question: Who is the official graphic designer for GirlChild Press?

Last week's answer: NO! The Rape Documentary directed by Aishah Shahidah Simmons.
Winner: TaKeshia Brooks (we need your contact info)

If you have already won a copy of the book you are not eligible for this round.
But you can always buy one to go with the free one you won. www.girlchildpress.com/products.html

Good Luck and thanks for playing along.
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Growing Up Girl in Santa Fe


I can't begin to describe my trip to Santa Fe, NM. I think if you wake up every morning to this view then you can't help but feel amazing. I definitely feel overwhelmed by all the hospitality,knowledge, and love for the written word.

PEN New Mexico invited me out to be the keynote speaker of a two day program that was inspired by the Growing Up Girl anthology! I am blown away by the idea that an entire weekend was organized to discuss and explore what it means to grow up girl and how that concept needs to appear in more young adult books.

The Friday night discussion was lively and robust. I hadn't done a reading on the book in quite a while and I was surprised how passionate I still felt about the material. There was a lot of discussion about tangible ways that we can empower and protect girls until they get to their full selves. I was really moved by the concern and energy around the topic.



The panel discussion on Saturday was equally as fulfilling. I had the opportunity to meet some really amazing young women. Tasha and Santana are two of those girls. Both are writers and are powerful forces to be reckoned with. Nobody is going to silence these young women. How wonderful it is to know you deserve to speak your truth without permission or hesitation. I am hoping to work with them on a wonderful project that hopefully will come to light in 2010.

A special thank you to Cinny Green who spearheaded this event and made me feel super welcomed. Barbara and Bill thank you for your hospitality. I really appreciate you sharing your home and view with me. I hope Judy Blume likes the book.

Next stop: NYC

Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Friday, April 25, 2008

Trivia errr... Friday

Juggling a million balls and couldn't find time to post the trivia question for Tuesday. But better late than never.

So here is your opportunity to win a free copy of Just Like A Girl. If you have already won a copy you are ineligible.

What documentary by which director did Samiya Bashir (Where the Apple Falls) appear in?

Last week's answer: Season 4
Winner: Deesha

And for those who just want to buy a copy (at a reduced rate) www.girlchildpress.com/products.html


Good Luck
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Trivia Tuesday

ButtaFlySoul appeared on what season of HBO Def Poetry?

The first correct answer wins a FREE copy of Just Like A Girl!

Last week's answer - Kevin Smith/Chasing Amy
Winner - Tri (we still need your contact info)
And for those who just want to buy a copy (at a reduced rate) www.girlchildpress.com/products.html

Good Luck
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

* Previous winners not eligible.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Tree Hugging GirlChild Press Style


On my way back from the post office this morning I noticed that every third neighbor was having a yard sale. Ten yard sales in 4 blocks and my curiosity was sufficiently piqued. What's up with the massive yard sale fever?! Turns out our entire neighborhood is having a community yard sale. See what I get for not reading the newsletter.

So I stopped off at one of my neighbors to check out what he was selling. I am looking for a little table to go into a space that will become my alleged meditation room - before the decade is over. This neighbor is uber tree hugger (I say that with love) and most of his stuff consisted of jelly jars and boxes (shoe boxes to be specifically). After a 10 minute conversation (more like a lecture) on consistent recycling, landfill use and global footprints, I found myself committing to "creative recycling."

I still don't have a table for my meditation room but I did remember that I have at least ten sneaker boxes stacked up in that said room. Guess what my bulk orders are going in? Can't say I'm not doing my part:)

If you want your very own copies of Just Like A Girl delivered in a rather fancy sneaker box, pull out that credit card and go to www.girlchildpress.com/products.html then figure out a way to creatively recycle and lessen those footprints. Next thing you know I'll be swimming out into the middle of the ocean and protesting whaling boats!

Michelle
http://www.girlchildpress.com/

Friday, April 11, 2008

The Big Delivery!




That's Kendra (graphic designer extraordinaire) and she is holding the very first copy of Just Like A Girl: A Manifesta! straight out the box (actually from one of the many boxes that are stacked floor to ceiling in my office). I really couldn't have done this project without her. Kendra is a very gifted artist and she brought her A game to the this project.

For my part, I am sealing envelopes. I knew this day would come so I pre-labeled all the the contributors' envelopes so that they could go in the mail as soon as the books got here. I've already made three trips to the post office. I can't wait for the contributors to get their copy of the anthology. I'm especially excited for my young writers and never-published contributors to see their name in print! I keep staring at the cover and willing myself not to look for the mistakes or second guess the choices that went into making the book. I am going to celebrate all the good intentions and know that with each book - we get better and better. I am already thinking about the short story anthology and the parenting handbook that will be released in September 2009.

If you haven't bought your copy yet - dash on over to www.girlchildpress.com/products.html If you buy it today, I guarantee you will have the book in two days (not counting Sunday, smarty!) The pre-sale ends April 30th and the book will go to its regular price - $20.00 + s&h. Catch the deal while you can:)

Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Trivia Tuesday

Which director did Guinevere Turner(Go Fish, American Psycho) inspire to make what movie that premiered in 1997.

The first correct answer wins a FREE copy of Just Like A Girl!

Last week's answer - "When it came time to name my fledgling press, I chose RedBone as a way to indicate to other black people that this was a black woman-owned, born in the South, press."
Winner - Stephanie Kemp

And for those who just want to buy a copy (at a reduced rate) www.girlchildpress.com/products.html

Good Luck
Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com

* Previous winners not eligible.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Fish Tacos, Drifting, and Canyon Walking


All in a 24 hour LA day!
I am actually here for work but somehow I've not done a lick of writing - except for here. I'm in LA to meet with the director and producers on my first official feature film script. Actually, it is not my first feature script - I've got a couple hanging around in a drawer at home - so this is my first adapted feature film script.

I met the director Carolyn Coal in a writing fellowship last summer and we really hit it off. We stayed in touch and a few months later I got an email from her asking if I would consider coming on board to adapt a book she had recently optioned. Of course I said yes - never having adapted anything before I wanted the experience. We started on the project in December and now we are only a few months away from shooting the film. It is an independent project so no studio interference - which allows for a quick turnaround. In about an hour I will be sitting around a table getting notes on the first draft of the script. I am really fascinated to see how the process will go.

I got here on Friday morning. Carolyn was off filming a documentary on a drift driver (picture above) so her partner Bobbi picked me up from the airport and we hung out. We found this really cool place that does these fantastic fish tacos and I am hooked. Bobbi eats non-stop but somehow remains a size 4. This morning I found out why.

They invited me to go on a "walk" with them and an hour later I think I am just starting to feel my feet. That's me trying to hold on for dear life to Clark. He basically pulled me up the canyon. Poor thing:0)

All in all - having a great time! But don't think just because I'm off canyon walking in LA that that absolves you from buying a copy of Just Like A Girl. Go on now. Pull out that credit card and get your copy so that I can ship it off to you when I get back. www.girlchildpress.com/products.html

Michelle

Thursday, April 3, 2008

So Who's Picking Up the Tab?

There is a long answer to that question - so I'll give you the highlights.

Basically the sale of the anthologies is what generates the resources to publish more books and go on the tour. When I first published Growing Up Girl: An Anthology - a small grant and my personal financial investment got the project off the ground. About six months into the life of the anthology - the sale of the book is what paid for airfare, hotel stays (subsized by my sister who works at Marriott), and car rentals while the book was on tour.

That means that I have to really hustle before the anthology is actually released to make sure there is money to cover the production, shipping, and promotion of the book. Hence the current pre-sale (stop here and go order a book. I'll wait. www.girlchildpress.com/products.html) Your back:)


The second time at bat was somewhat easier than when I first decided to release the first book. Growing Up Girl has been a solid seller and so money has been coming in rather consistently (or at least when I really need it) to cover various publishing expenses. This time around I did run into the problem of having to go to the printer with both books at the same time and that made things tight. Thank goodness I have supportive family members that believed in me enough to pull out their checkbooks to help with some of the printing cost.

Just Like A Girl is having an amazing pre-sale period! The word is out on the anthology and the sales are strong enough that I'll be able to handle mailing the books and postcards (that assist in the advertisement of the books) with little trouble. So far I haven't had to go into my personal stash. That doesn't mean I won't at some point because @#$% happens. Shoot, even Hillary had to loan her campaign 5 million dollars. But I do believe I have a strong enough marketing and business plan to make Just Like A Girl a solid success and even outsell the original anthology.
Now that the press is juggling multiple books, I am interested to see how that affects the bottomline.

In 2009, I plan on releasing two books simultaneously. One will be a short story anthology and the other a parenting book for girls. Between now and then my goal is to make the press entirely self-sustaining and even hire a staff member. I'll let you know how that goes.

Michelle
www.girlchildpress.com