Tuesday, September 7, 2010

New Shipment In!

Growing Up Girl has been on back order for several months. We just got a fresh shipment in today! If you have been waiting for the books you can order them here.

Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces

A diverse collection of poems, essays, and short stories that document the transition from girl to woman, as told by the girls and women who know the journey best.

314 pages
ISBN 0-9779372-0-8
Regular price: $19.95 plus S&H

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Meet (Some of ) the Woman's Work Contributors

While we've been busy shipping out orders of the newest anthology, Woman's Work: Short Stories, I thought I would take the time to hand deliver some of the books to a few of the contributors and chat them up.

In the video below you will find five contributors who will tell you a little bit about their stories, why they write, and maybe some advice for budding writers.

The contributors are: Megan M. Walsh (Cats and Dogs and Spiderwebs), Candace Tyler (Social Service), Venus Campbell (A Queen's Burden), Patricia R. Corbett (Fall of the House of Snow) and Lois A. Wiley (Sousabella).


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Why Woman's Work?

Since I sent out the first call for submissions for "Woman's Work," everyone has felt compelled to "correct" the spelling of Woman's to Women's. Although I'm quite aware that this newest collection highlights the writings of 40 women...my choice of the title was inspired by the writings of one woman in particular. See the introduction to the anthology for further clarification.


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 Mamita Mala” Ortiz
My Writing Life

In many ways, this anthology found its inspiration in blogger/poet/activist Maegan “la Mamita Mala” Ortiz’s essay “My Writing Life,” that appears in the anthology Just Like a Girl: A Manifesta!. Although we had received over 400 submissions for that project, her well-crafted treatise, speaking as it does of a writer’s life that occurred after she breastfed the baby, did the housework, and took care of her partner, is the story of all of the other women who did not meet our submission deadline that year. These twenty-first century women whose lives look very much like those of their sisters from generations ago, only now with jobs, some high-end, some barely making ends meet, to go along with all that “woman’s work” that has always threatened to keep women away from their passions.

Every week I get an email from a woman who laments not finishing that novel, or poem, or memoir that they have been meaning to get to. I tell them to write one page a day, for five minutes, and that before they know it they will have that project completed. But in reality, I don’t live their lives. I don’t have to juggle anything, except my own discipline, to get my writing done. I don’t have the traditional trappings that require that I put anyone first and relegate my writing schedule to a time after everyone is sleeping.

I admire those women who don’t give up in the face of three-hour dance recitals, chicken pox, or last minute fifth grade science projects. They keep stoking that creative fire, believing that they will get back to it and what they have to say is worth saying.

These provocative, funny, and original short stories are from the women who, like Maegan Ortiz, show up to the page deep into the night, after all their woman’s work is done, and let their passions fly.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Our New Email Addy

We are changing our email address. The transition will be completed by July 1, 2010 and our old address at AOL will be terminated

Please note the change



Thursday, June 17, 2010


Join us at Red Emma's Book for a reading of A LITTLE TRUTH ON YOUR SHIRT with HBO Def Poet Sonya Renee. Come hear new work and get an autographed copy of the outstanding collection.

Red Emma's
Friday, June 18, 2010 at 7:00pm
800 St. Paul Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Friday, June 4, 2010

In the beginning... I was a poet

An encounter over the weekend reminded me it has been ten years since I joined the the spoken word community of Washington, DC. My first time was at mothertongue, a women's spoken word venue. Prior to finding myself on the stage at the Black Cat, I had been writing in the privacy of my apartment and performing my work on long car trips by myself. Then one day one of my friends signed me up to read and I was blown away by the audience response.

I'm no Sonya Renee Taylor, but I can hold my own. When I first started out I use to perform almost every week somewhere in D.C. I even took a year off from my day job to perform and teach writing workshops. That was a very cool year.

Over the years, I've turned my attention to my screenwriting and publishing life and don't perform as much. But my encounter over the weekend reminded me that there are people who only know me in my poet persona. So, I decided to dig up one of my favorite poems, But Until Then, and record myself. This piece is about five years old and not how I normally perform it. Consider it a remix:)

Monday, May 3, 2010


Got a story you want to tell (a short story)? Want to tell the world your story (a memoir)?

Well then you want to join us for our Spring Writing Workshop in Washington, DC!

GirlChild Press
Spring Writing Workshop
Saturday, May 22, 2010
11:00am – 2:00pm
Facilitators: Yael Flusberg and Michelle Sewell

This interactive 3-hour workshop is designed to strengthen your ability to access your original voice, take creative risks, and move your writing to a deeper level. Writing exercises and feedback from your instructors and fellow writers will allow you to expand your powers of observation, imagination, and language. The workshop is perfect for writers at all stages of development.

To register for the workshop - www.girlchildpress.com/workshops.html

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Trivia Tuesday - Week #4 (late edition)

Start sharpening those Google skills and get ready to win a FREE and signed copy of our newest book

To qualify you must be the first to provide a correct answer in the comment section of this blog. If you have already won a free copy you are not eligible this week.

Question: What is the title of the next book to be released by GirlChild Press?
Don't know the answer or someone already beat you to it - then order your copy at www.girlchildpress.com/products.html for the pre-sale price of $10.00. Free shipping on first copy!
Good Luck!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Poet Sonya Renee Taylor on Joe's Place (WHUR)

We are just a couple weeks from the release of A LITTLE TRUTH ON YOUR SHIRT and we are already starting the rounds on interviews and booking readings.

In this video, at the WHUR studio with Joe Gorham, Sonya talks about her decision to put a manuscript together, while in New Zealand, and seeking out a publisher. She ends with a poem from the book.
Enjoy - then make your way over to www.girlchildpress.com/products.html to purchase your copy of the new collection. Promise you wont be disappointed:)


Start sharpening those Google skills and get ready to win a FREE and signed copy of our newest book

To qualify you must be the first to provide a correct answer in the comment section of this blog. If you have already won a free copy you are not eligible this week.

Question: Who is the little girl on the cover of Growing Up Girl: An Anthology?
-if you come up with who she is AND her name, you are the ultimate winner!

Don't know the answer or someone already beat you to it - then order your copy at www.girlchildpress.com/products.html for the pre-sale price of $10.00. Free shipping on first copy!
Good Luck!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Trivia Tuesday - Week 2!

Start sharpening those Google skills and get ready to win a FREE and signed copy of our newest book

To qualify you must be the first to provide a correct answer in the comment section of the blog. If you have already won a free copy you not eligible this week.


Don't know the answer or someone already beat you to it - then order your copy at www.girlchildpress.com/products.html for the pre-sale price of $10.00. Free shipping on first copy!
Good Luck!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Start sharpening those Google skills and get ready to win a FREE and signed copy of our newest book

To qualify you must be the first to provide a correct answer in the comment section of the blog.

What is the full name of poet Sonya Renee's Yorkshire Terrier puppy?

Monday, April 5, 2010

Introducing A Little Truth on Your Shirt

I have thought long and hard about the kind of author I wanted to be the first to be released under GirlChild Press. Up until now the press has been releasing anthologies, but I was fully aware that we would make the shift to single-author books in 2010 and I wanted someone who matched our mission. I also wanted someone who was serious about their craft, understood the work involved in publishing a book and would be willing to do the work necessary to promote the book and generate sales.

When HBO Def Poet Sonya Renee Taylor approached me with the idea for her book I was a little skeptical. Sonya is a devastingly amazing performer but I had no information that said she could translate all that energy into a manuscript that would be worth publishing. Well, she spent the winter working on a manuscript that not only featured her stage work, but also included a large body of compelling and rich pieces that any "page poet" would gladly claim as their own.

It seems that over the years, while Sonya was crafting her complex wordplay performance pieces, she was also constructing and reworking smaller pieces that she hoped to one day put together in a book. Well that day has arrived.

A Little Truth on Your Shirt will be released on May 5, 2010. To get your book before the release date feel free to pop over to the website and order your copy today (and save $5.00) Each copy will be personally signed by Sonya.

Stay tuned for readings and book signing information.


Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Writing Prompt #2

C.J. splashes through the shallow waters of a narrow, dark tunnel. He stops to adjust the breathing apparatus that covers his mouth and nose. A hissing sound escapes as he breathes in and out. His piercing gray eyes darts over at the sound of something splashing in the water ahead of him. The beam of his government-issued flashlight lands on a plump, wet rat. There is a mini standoff until the rat scrambles into an auxiliary tunnel.

As C.J. moves towards the vertical pipe, leading to a manhole cover, he hears another splash, this time louder, behind him. As he turns his light toward the noise he is startled to find a small, shirtless boy blankly staring back at him. FINISH THE STORY.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Writing Prompt #1

Feeling stuck or just need to oil those creative muscles before you jump into you next writing project? Try this writing prompt to get things going.

Green Mangoes and Red Sweaters
The E Street Farmers' Market was loud and swollen with Sunday shoppers. Gillian inspected the green mangoes at the rickety fruit stand. Her orange tote bag hung from her wrist, that was encased in a dingy,white cast. She pulled the arm closer to her as she made it over to the stall with summer corn. Something made her look behind her. To this day she still doesn't know what. There he stood, clad in a red wool sweater. Completely inappropriate for New Mexico in July. He didn't look at her, but she knew he was there for her. WHAT HAPPENS NEXT?

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Embrace Your Inner Girl

Last week, after conducting a writing workshop, one of the participants said I was "like the black Eve Ensler." I joked I was just doing my best to be the black Michelle Sewell. After watching this passionate TEDGlobal talk by Eve Ensler, I am just happy we are marching in the same girl army!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Deborah Randall: Putting the "F Word" in Theatre

By the time I saw the world premiere of Carolyn Gage’s powerful and raw play, Ugly Ducklings, Deborah Randall had been running Venus Theatre for over four years. It was April 2004 and I was catching one of the final shows at the Warehouse Theatre in Washington, DC.

Deborah (and her set designer Paul Kelm) had transformed the small auxiliary stage into the Maine all-girls summer camp that is the setting for the unsettling play. For over 90 minutes, an intriguing and diverse cast of no less than thirteen women actors (some as young as eight-years-old), held the audience in rapt attention. As they expertly wove the delicate tale of discovery, pain and betrayal, in the world of tenuous summertime sisterhood, you knew you were seeing something unusual. Not just Gage’s well-written script, but all those women on one stage.

Since 1999, the founder and artistic director of Venus Theatre has been on a mission to create as many opportunities for audiences to see complex and provocative stories told by and performed by women. Deborah’s first indication of the power of theater in women’s lives was during her membership in an interactive improv female troupe, Venus Envy, which provided programming for women in domestic violence shelters. Through broken teeth and blackened eyes, the women embraced the empowering and healing skits and activities that gave them some of their dignity and voices back.

During this period, Deborah was also seeing a “dumbing down” of the already limited roles for women in theatre and she could no longer abide by the worsening opportunities for an entire generation of female actors. In response she created Venus Theatre. Within a year she had incorporated and was now Washington, DC’s only non-profit feminist theatre. Almost immediately she started requesting work from women playwrights, submissions now number in the hundreds, and the wRighting Women Reading Series was born. The series allowed Deborah to cast talented actors in challenging and important roles and introduce fresh stories to hungry audiences.

Deborah has noticed that there are female actors that shy away from auditioning for roles at Venus. When asked why she thinks this is, she is frank in her response. “I think actors who work primarily in mainstream theater, who often contend with paper thin characters and productions, find the material, that Venus is known to produce, intimidating. We want to show life from multiple angles and that means seeing actors on stage who depict stories that are complex, heady and challenging. So, yes, you might see two women kissing.”

Deborah reflects on one of her own earlier challenges when mounting these productions. “For the first seven years of the company, every time we launched a new show or reading, I had to rent a space.” Over the years, Deborah has set up her feminist caravan in every available theater space in Washington, DC (as well NYC , Pennsylvania, and Baltimore). In 2007, she decided it was time to create a permanent home for her mercurial company. Venus Theatre The Play Shack is now located at 21 C Street in Laurel, Maryland. The convenient location makes it accessible to theater lovers coming from DC, Annapolis and Baltimore. “Once we moved into our own black box, I was surprised to discover how much stress I had been feeling having to bounce around D.C., finding venues to do our plays. Now I get to park right in front of my own theatre,” an amused Deborah shared.

Deborah is the first to admit that it takes a great deal of sacrifice to do what she has done. It helps that her partner of 21-years, musician Alan Scott, has been unwavering in his support of her work. He has encouraged her to take more risks and make Venus her chief focus in her artist’s life. She hasn’t had a “day job” in years. She is immensely grateful, that on a daily basis, she has the opportunity to embrace her desire to create a space for women.

But running a theatre company doesn’t mean that she gets to churn out her own plays in any regular frequency. After ten years of producing and directing Deborah has had to put her own writing and performing to the side at times. But this year, she will direct the second play of the Venus season, In the Goldfish Bowl, which focuses on four women on Texas death row. She will also debut and perform in her own one-act play, Tuesday, at the Capital Fringe Festival, later this summer. The play centers on a hotline volunteer that is faced with the truth of her own crumbling life as she tries to support the women who call the hotline. Lee Mikeska Gardner, who Deborah is eternally grateful for her talent and her demand that she stretch herself in this new work, directs Tuesday.

When asked what is her advice for women who want to follow their dreams, Deborah sighs. “Don’t try to do this alone. You don’t have to isolate yourself. As women we are not always in a team environment when we are younger. We are pitted against each other to be the prettiest, smartest, or the center of attention, so we don’t always recognize each other as valuable supports.” Deborah admits she has been guilty of trying to go it alone for a long time. Now as she reflects on this decade milestone, she is happy that she is embracing the idea of collaboration and learning what kind of support is out there for her. “Reach out and ask for help. It is much easier than we think. I think the Internet has become for women artists what the golf course is for men. It cuts down the isolation and opens up a community we might not have access to in any other way.”

What’s next for Venus Theatre? More plays that set flight to the voices of women. “I was born to do this. This is where I feel like I’m in my vein of gold,” Deborah says, as she prepares to get back to work.

On March 11, 2010, Venus Theatre will kick off its 10th season with the world premiere of Zelda at the Oasis, written by P.H. Lin and directed by Lynn Sharp Spears. The play takes a fictional look at the life of Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, wife of the noted American novelist, F. Scott Fitzgerald, who wants nothing better than to be recognized as an artist in her own right. Two things stand in her way: an inherited mental instability, and an overbearing husband. The play runs until April 4, 2010. For more information on tickets click here.

Michelle Sewell is a screenwriter who was horribly miscast as the “wicked witch” in her sixth grade Halloween play, when she really wanted to be the “cute alien,” and has been plotting her revenge ever since.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

50% of the earth's population has a period!

Innovation to improve quality of life comes in many different kinds of ideas. This one focuses on girls and women and in turn benefits entire communities. After you check out the video, check out the website she:sustainable health enterprise and learn more about the she28campaign.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Little Truth on Your Shirt -Photo Shoot

An amazingly busy weekend in DC. One of the tasks on my to-do-list was the photo shoot for the new book by Sonya Renee Taylor.

We have been putting the A Little Truth on Your Shirt project together while 3,000 miles apart. While I was in L.A., Sonya met with the official GirlChild Press graphic designer, Kendra Kuliga, to sketch out some ideas for what she would like to see for the cover. Now I am in DC and Sonya is gigging some where in the south, so I am overseeing the photo shoot.

Our model for this project is the Sudanese beauty Elen Awalom. Elen is a talented photographer in her own right - which made the shoot so much easier and efficient.

Check out our video on the shoot and keep an eye out for the new cover.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Interview at WPFW with Nkenge Toure - In Our Voices

Living a bicoastal life for the next couple months and this week finds me in snowy Washington, DC.

This morning I battled to find parking (don't let me get started about lawn chairs in parking spaces) so I could hang out with Nkenge Toure (In Our Voices) at Pacifica Radio WPFW. She has hosted the show for over 20 years and has always been a strong advocate for women and strengthening our voices.

I came in to talk about the press and our upcoming projects (Woman's Work and A Little Truth on Your Shirt), but I also got the chance to help out with their winter pledge drive. WPFW has been a part of Washington, DC for over 30 years and they have been a vital, informed voice in the progressive dialogue about all the issues that impact the city.

I appreciate their continued support of GirlChild Press.

Friday, February 12, 2010

GirlChild Press Accepting Manuscripts

Although we have set the publishing slate for 2010 with the anticipated release of Woman's Work: The Short Stories (the final anthology from the girls series) and our first single-author book, A Little Truth on Your Shirt, by Sonya Renee Taylor, we are already preparing for 2011.

In line with the GirlChild Press mission, we are interested in publishing the works of women and girl writers. We are especially interested in submissions from writers 21-years-old and younger, although writers of all ages are invited to submit their work.

We are currently looking for manuscripts in the following areas:
* YA Novels(with special interest in a Native American/Latina/Arab/Asian protagonist)
* Speculative Fiction
* Historical Fiction
* Poetry
* Memoirs
* How to (with an emphasis on girls)
No exclusively erotica manuscripts at this time. Also no anthologies.

Submission Guidelines:
1. Submit the first ten (10) pages of your manuscript electronically to girlchildpress@aol.com.

2. The subject line of the email should include the title of the work, your name and the genre. Example: Black Swan submitted by Michelle Sewell - memoir.

3. A basic summary of the work should be included in the body of the email, along with your bio.

4. Also share why you believe this book should be published and who is the intended audience.

5. Please allow 3-4 weeks for reveiw. If we are interested in seeing the entire manuscript we will contact you for a hard copy.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Adventures in Mothering Mother: A Book Review

The winter Meg Federico’s 81-year-old mother, Addie, fell and hit her head on the sidewalk, while vacationing in Florida, they suddenly found themselves cast in a geriatric version of the movie Freaky Friday. Seemingly overnight, they swap roles in the parent/child dynamic and every day, for the next three years, is a series of unexpected and unbelievable adventures.

Federico’s bittersweet and humorous memoir, Welcome to the Departure Lounge: Adventures in Mothering Mother, is in many ways an instructive step-by-step narrative on the Herculean task of taking care of an aging parent, while trying to live your own life.

If the natural cycle of life plays itself out as intended we will outlive our parents; and in doing so we might also be placed in the position of caring for them in their final years. Federico bravely writes about her imperfect attempt to do just that and the lessons learned along the way.

The story is told in a series of compelling flashbacks, starting with the author’s father dying on her wedding day. If there was ever an example of foreshadowing you couldn’t get a better one than that. It is also clear early on that Meg and Addie have a strained relationship, a fact that will become critical as Meg becomes one of the central people in charge of her mother’s care.

Once Federico and her siblings make the decision not to place their frail mother in a nursing home (prompted by Addie’s earlier escape, aided and abetted by her Alzheimer's-addled, 83-year-old second husband) they realize how ill-equipped they are to take care of their strong-willed and sometimes alcoholic mother. But determined to give her the best care possible they call in a team of in-home “experts” that range from tremendously caring to outright crooks.

As Addie and her sex-crazed husband, Walter, become more like petulant teenagers, the author the frazzled parent, and the incidents stack up at an outlandish (sometimes outright life threatening) rate the reader can’t help but wonder why they continue at this impossible circus, with all its loony characters. No one would judge them if they called it quits.

In the midst of the chaos of bedpans, missing jewelry, and sex-toys, Federico must also come to terms with the uneven and sometimes-distant relationship she has had with her diva mother. As the youngest of five children, Federico always felt that her mother saw her as an inconvenience that never met her expectations. Faced with these long held resentments, now butted up against her new power and responsibility, she somehow resists the temptation to “pay her mother back.” In fact, as Addie decompensates, and her own family life starts to show the strain of her routine absence, Federico renews her commitment to maintaining her mother’s dignity and making room for her to have a say so in her care, even when it was inconvenient or impractical to do so.

Just as the author deftly uses humor as a way to soften some of the more difficult issues caretakers face (i.e. changing diapers, dementia, and slowly losing the person who once took care of you), she is also straightforward in the reality that ultimately, unlike parents taking care of children, there is no future or bettering to the situation and what frees you from this obligation is death.

Their last days together are both tender and a celebration of her mother’s long and determined life. And although Federico knows that death is how this obligation will end, it doesn’t make it any easier when her mother takes her final breath while sleeping in her arms.

Welcome to the Departure Lounge is a poignant testament to how human we all are, including our parents.

Michelle Sewell, founder of GirlChild Press, has recently been hired to write a memoir involving death, teen pregnancy, and raising kids in the Valley. She currently lives in Los Angeles, CA.

Monday, January 18, 2010

The Soulmate Search : A Book Review

If you think the concept of having a soul mate is crap or that “attracting” the perfect person into your life is double crap, then you should probably stop reading here. But if you have been romantically attached to a long list of losers or every weekend you find yourself reluctantly sitting on your couch with only the company of a bag of Doritos — then read on.

Arielle Ford’s The Soulmate Secret: Manifest the Love of Your Life with the Law of Attraction just might be the antidote to your partner-less life that you’ve been looking for.

I bumped into this little book of love and joy while searching the new arrival stacks at my local library. I am personally not in the market for a new mate, but Ford’s sunny and hopeful writing style compelled me to check this little puppy out and I have not been able to put it down.

Let me be clear that The Soulmate Secret isn’t bringing us any late breaking information that we have not heard before. What makes this 207 page quick read so compelling is its accessibility. Ford saves you from chapters of psycho-babble, that normally makes you feel like who would want to date you any way, and jumps right into how to find that special person.
The book takes you through a quick soulmate IQ test: Do you believe there is a soul mate out there for you? Are there past lovers who still have their energetic hooks in you — or are yours in them? Are you psychologically ready to receive your soul mate? These are just a few of the probing questions put to you on page one. If you answer “no” to any of the nine questions, Ford lets you know right off the bat that you and the current state of mind is the barrier that is stopping your soulmate from showing up. If you must know I answered “no” to half the damn questions.

But don’t fear; she has a host of activities and testimonies to get you into relationship shape. In many ways the book ask that you accept full responsibility for all the sub-par mates that have been showing up in your life. When you look back on your failed relationships you knew they were trouble or broke or alcoholics or needy or crazy from the very start, but you let them in anyway. From the start they couldn’t give you what you needed and you certainly could not impact change in their chaotic lives, so you were forced to ride it out until the relationship died some horrible, often messy, death. Then you were back on that couch, with your bag of Doritos, feeling like a failure and wondering why you are so unlucky in love.

To combat these unintentional relationships, Ford suggests that you make an exhaustive list of the attributes you want in a partner. I know it sounds super easy but try it. After you scribble down the first five or six characteristics a lot of folks find themselves struggling to come up with the recommended minimum 25 items. Partly, the exercise is about showing you you are not necessarily connected to what you want in a partner. This disconnect is why you accept anything that shows up. Once you get past the cute, nice, good in bed and not allergic to the cat, you discover there is a lot of things you hate about your new love. And there you are, back on the relationship roller coaster. The author suggests you should commit about 30 minutes to making this list.

Making your soul mate list is just the start to the process that leads you through a lot of purging and reflection in your life. When it comes to your physical space: throw away those bedsheets that are still around from two relationships ago. They are probably carrying around some bad love juju. Make a vision board of what you want your soul mate to look like and what you would like to do with them and hang it in your bedroom. Set up an altar to remind you that you “purposely” trying to attract your true love. When it comes to you, get your butt into therapy or some form of counseling. Take inventory of your life. There is a reason that you keep attracting the wrong person. Find out why, and then stop doing it.

My favorite part of the book is the couple testimonies sprinkled throughout. Ford says that all the couples highlighted took the steps recommended in the book and found their true love. We got people meeting on planes, in gyms, in snowstorms, at seminars, and in parking lots. One guy reports that he woke up one morning, with a random phone number running through his head, and when he called it it was a woman living 50 miles away that he had never heard of. After he told her how he came to call her, and she did not hang up on him, they met for coffee and have been together ever since. Stop rolling your eyes, especially if you are still sitting on that couch covered in Doritos dust.

If I had any criticism of the book are Ford’s “Feelingizations.” These are meant to be meditations that you can do when you want to connect to the idea of attracting your soul mate. I personally could not get through them, but maybe you will have better luck. There is also a website that provides a guided audio of these feelingizations that could make the meditation a little easier.

All in all, I think this book is perfect for those who are ready to take a real hard look at their romantic life and are serious about getting into an intentional and healthy long-term relationship. Happy manifesting!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Growing Up Girl contributor Cherien Dabis' film "Amreeka" nominated for three Film Independent Spirit Awards

The super talented Growing Up Girl contributor Cherien Dabis (Amsterdam It!) first feature length film "Amreeka" is getting a lot of much deserved praise. Recently it was nominated for three Spirit Awards: Best Feature, Best First Screenplay (Cherien Dabis), Best Female Lead (Nisreen Faour).

Cherien wrote and directed this film. In total "Amreeka" has won 11 awards. You can check them out here


Amreeka chronicles the adventures of Muna, a single mother who leaves the West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, dreaming of an exciting future in small-town Illinois. In America, as her son navigates high school hallways like he used to move through military checkpoints, the indomitable Muna scrambles together a new life cooking up falafel burgers at the local White Castle.

Told with heartfelt humor by writer-director Cherien Dabis in her feature film debut, Amreeka portrays the universal journey of a family of immigrants and first-generation teenagers caught between their heritage and the new world they now call home.

The awards will be telecast live on IFC on Friday, March 10, 2010 at 8:00pm. For more information check out the Spirit Awards website.

And, of course, check out the "Amreeka" trailer below.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Do you remember what you wanted to be when you were seven-years-old?

Did that dream follow you into adulthood?

When I was seven I discovered I could read an entire book (Ramona the Great). I have been in love with books and the written word ever since. I am not surprised that I run a press or that I write screenplays. But this morning it came to me that when I was little I liked reading to other people, specifically to other kids who could not read as well. I guess some where along the way words and helping others became one in the same. Do you think you can know your "calling" as early as seven?

Let us know about your little girl dreams.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

New Article on the Press by Lisa Rose - emPOWER Magazine

Mission Accomplished: Michelle Sewell’s GirlChild Press
Former social worker uses the power of words to help women and girls in need
Wednesday, January 6, 2010
by Lisa Rose
Article link -
What does a master’s degree in Social Work have to do with starting a publishing company? Everything!

Michelle Sewell worked with children and families for 15 years. Each year, she became more and more stressed and burned out. So in the summer of 2004, Sewell got out!

“I decided to take a sabbatical and explore the creative aspects of my life in a more full-time way,” Sewell said. “I spent that summer being a touring poet and teaching writing workshops to women and girls in shelters, group homes and detention centers. By the end of the summer I was in love with the idea of providing the opportunity for women and girls to use their voices in the way they saw fit.”

Sewell was so impressed with the stories and poems of the women and girls she met that she decided to bring those voices to a broader audience. So about a year after her break, instead of returning to social work, she decided to apply for a local arts grant. She was awarded the money and used it to fund a local anthology.

“But once I put the call for submissions online, the anthology became…an international anthology.” she said.

After nine months of hard work, Sewell finished “Growing Up Girl: An Anthology of Voices from Marginalized Spaces.” The anthology features writers from the Philippines, Canada, Australia, England, and across the United States.

“The excellent reception the book received put me on the road for a year, touring bookstores, recreational centers, and universities,” she said. “During that year, I decided to formalize GirlChild Press and commit to publishing the work of girls and women (on) a regular basis.”

Sewell publishes girls and women because she doesn’t “believe women writers are given the same attention from the publishing world. Not enough eclectic voices are allowed in print and what is printed is not a representation of the brilliance and creativity that women writers bring to the table."

“Historically, women’s access to learning (reading and writing) was barred by others and then their writings were not taken seriously, sometimes forcing them to take on male pseudonyms to get their work in print (i.e. The Bronte Sisters or Louisa May Alcott). People might say that practice is a thing of the past, but you only have to look at the writer of the hugely successful “Harry Potter” series to find an example of a woman (who) was forced to use a gender neutral name—J.K. Rowlings—to get the respect of the entire literary world,” she continued.

The next project and final anthology in the “girl” trilogy is “Woman’s Work: The Short Stories,” which is a collection of short stories by 40 girl and women writers.

“As always the work is eclectic and daring,” Sewell said. “The voices are unique and their stories are filtered through extraordinary life experiences. I am really excited about this project.”

GirlChild Press received more than 300 submissions for the project, which made it difficult to choose only 40 writers.

“I really try to focus on new writers or writers who have a unique story to tell,” she said. “Having an extensive publishing resume doesn’t necessarily guarantee that your work will be included in the collection. In many ways I am looking for 40 different experiences that my readers can identify with but are also foreign to them—tricky.”

The publishing company is also planning to release its first single author project. Sonya Renee Taylor is an award-winning, international slam poet. The projected release date is late fall 2010.

“She is zany, provocative, smart and progress,” she said. “I am extremely honored to have the opportunity to publish her first poetry collection.”

In 2011, Sewell will release a parenting handbook geared to growing smart and strong girls and will be written by two licensed social workers.

Although Sewell is excited about her new venture and upcoming projects, the realities of the recession and the decline in the book publishing industry are sinking in. She has had to rethink how she markets books.

“Sales keep us alive,” she said. “As I prepare to release the next anthology, Woman’s Work: The Short Stories, I am looking to universities and colleges, book groups, sororities, online groups, designated women’s spaces and organizations to get the book out to the same audiences that might be lost because the book maybe on fewer shelves. I will also continue to use the web, social networking, YouTube, and our vast and growing database to get the word out regarding the book and the press.”

To learn more about Sewell and GirlChild Press' writing projects, visit www.girlchildpress.com. You can also contact her directly at girlchildpress@aol.com.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

More New Titles from GirlChild Press Contributors

Upon further investigation it seems 2009 was a huge publishing year for a lot of the contributors from GirlChild Press. There were no fewer than seven new titles added to the literary universe by these talented women. Make haste and go check them all out. Most are available on www.amazon.com and I've added a link for your buying convenience. The authors are in alphabetical order and the description of the books have been pulled from their websites or other sources when possible.

Accomplished poet Antoinette Brim (Burning Bridges),whose work appears in the anthology Just Like A Girl, released her collection of poetry PSALM OF THE SUNFLOWER in the fall of 2009. The collection was published by Willow Books. In Psalm of Sunflower, poet Antoinette Brim explores the painful reality of divorce as a foundation for self-discovery. Through exquisitely crafted poetry, filled with layered language and meaning, Brim unravels the breaking and mending of heart and spirit through a metaphoric engagement of nature, the Little Rock landscape, collective memory and song. Revelatory semantics skim just below the surface of these poems whose visionary narrative-arc mirrors the sunflower drawn to light as Brim explores a new morning of possibility through language. You can purchase the book here

Hot off the press, Just Like A Girl contributor Ellen Hagan (Our Women) new collection of poems CROWNED is ready for your reading pleasure. The Kentucky poet, who is known for bawdy, provocative, and sizzling work, doesn't disappoint with this slim volume. Ellen explores every crack and crevice, and leaves no truth untold. Her work is about intersections, history, accountability and tenderness. This is her debut collection and it is published by Sawyer House. You can purchase the book here

Growing Up Girl contributor Sheba Karim(Sacrifice) has a way with authenticating young, outsider girls' voices and does an extremely convincing job in SKUNK GIRL. Her debut young adult novel explores the world of Muslim culture and the life of a young woman on the verge. Sixteen-year-old Nina Khan feels like an outsider and finds herself chaffing and pushing against the mandates of her strict Muslim Pakistani-American parents. She feels more boxed in when she falls for a cute classmate (she is not allowed to date or go to parties), and in exploring her burgeoning romantic feelings she comes to appreciate her family. The novel is being released by Farrar, Straus and Giroux. You can purchase the book here.

Growing Up Girl contributor Dahlma Llanos-Figueroa (Hair Inspection)infused all her beautiful talent into her first novel DAUGHTERS OF THE STONES, released by Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press. The novel chronicles the experiences of descendants of African slaves in Puerto Rico. It is the mid-1800s. Fela, taken from Africa, is working at her second sugar plantation in colonial Puerto Rico, where her mistress is only too happy to benefit from her impressive embroidery skills. But Fela has a secret. Before she and her husband were separated and sold into slavery, they performed a tribal ceremony in which they poured the essence of their unborn child into a very special stone. Fela keeps the stone with her, waiting for the chance to finish what she started. When the plantation owner approaches her, Fela sees a better opportunity for her child, and allows the man to act out his desire. Such is the beginning of a line of daughters connected by their intense love for one another, and the stories of a lost land. You can purchase the book here

With the health care debate playing out on the evening news nightly, Just Like A Girl contributor Colleen McKee (Libby, the Only Punk Girl), along with her co-editor Amanda Stiebel, turns the discussion toward women in their poignant anthology ARE WE FEELING BETTER YET? Women Speak About Health Care in America. In this collection of 21 essays, women from around the country recount their individual efforts to access and receive quality health care within the formidable structure of the U. S. health care system. Their many voices speak with clarity, poignancy, and humor about situations familiar to all who have entered a health care setting on behalf of themselves or their loved ones. These penetrating stories cover a spectrum of health care conditions, but they unify around the themes of strong self-advocacy and personal empowerment. The book is an enlightening read not only for health care consumers, but also for health care professionals and for health policymakers. The collection was published by Penultimate Press and can be purchased here.

I had to go all the way back to the east coast to get my review copy of Just Like A Girl contributor Andrea Nicki's (Chinese Girl) new collection of poems WELCOMING and it was well worth the wait. The 93 page book really packs a punch. The poems included in this book explore many key contemporary issues, such as the relationship between the sexes; violence against girls and women; sexuality and gender identity; the relationship between human beings, animals and the environment; religion and spirituality; mental health and psychiatry; work, meaning, and exploitation; poverty and homelessness; multiculturalism; the value of children; and social community. The book was published by Inanna Publications & Education and can be purchased here.

I was quite honored to provide a jacket blurb for Just Like A Girl contributor Jessy Randall's (The Loop) young adult novel THE WANDORA UNIT. This is a funny and dead-on story of life and friendship during those high-stakes high school years. Wanda Lowell and Dora Nussbaum are best friends. They look alike, dress alike, share the same opinions, and co-edit the school's literary magazine, Galaxy. They are so close that their friends at Brighton High School have dubbed them "The Wandora Unit." But things are shifting in their senior year of high school. What once seemed absolute and certain now are just memories. While this tight-knit group of friends discovers who they are they find themselves drifting apart. As friendships turn and relationships blossom they are held together by their love of Galaxy and their desire to be individuals in a world that doesn't always let them. The Wandora Unit is a bittersweet story about the meaning of friendship, the lessons of growing beyond one's boundaries, and the joy of being part of something that makes us bigger than who we really are. Ghost Road Press is the publisher and the book can be purchased here.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Growing Up Girl Contributor Releases New Novel

The world is just a little brighter since I received word that Growing Up Girl contributor Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond (The Whinings of a Cum Laude Seven Sister College Graduate Working Bored as an Assistant)will be releasing her debut novel POWDER NECKLACE on April 6, 2010. The book will be published by Simon & Schuster. You can pre-order it now, of course :-) http://www.amazon.com/Powder-Necklace-Nana-Ekua-Brew-Hammond/dp/1439126100

Set in London, rural Ghana, and Long Island, NY, Powder Necklace tells the story of young Lila Adjei, the daughter of a working class Ghanaian immigrant and single mother who is paranoid that her daughter will be "spoiled" by bad influences in London. These "bad influences" are a euphemism for boys; "spoiled" a code word for sex--which Lila isn't having. But when her mother starts to suspect she could be, Ms. Adjei abruptly sends the girl packing to Ghana

Nana is an excellent writer and I can't wait to get my hands on this little gem (wonderful cover). Look for a review in the near future.