Sunday, February 8, 2015

Meet the Author: A few things


It's been a while since I've done my blogging duty.  I've been writing and rewriting and rewriting my latest novel.  The good news is, it's done now.  I'll be posting more about it soon.


I've also been out and about doing things.  Great things, and then every day sort of normal things (like loads of laundry and last minute grocery trips).  There will be more soon about those things, too (the great ones, at least).

For now, I just want to let you know about three events I've got coming up later this month and next:

new SCIBA logo wee

  February 21, 2015 - SCIBA Children's Literacy Day - Long Beach, CA

If you're a Southern California Independent Bookseller, I hope I'll see you at this year's Literacy Day!  I'm on the "We Need Diverse Books" panel at 2:15pm with Ayize Jama-EverettCynthia Kadohata,  and Stacey Lee.  I hope to see you there!



    March 21, 2015 - Ontario Library Teen Book Fest - Ontario, CA

    Join me and fifteen of your other favorite California authors at the fifth annual Teen Book Fest in Ontario!  I've got two panels, "Different Worlds" in the morning and "Hidden Lives" in the afternoon.  It is going to be amazing.  Come join the awesome!




    HomeMarch 27 - 29, 2015 - AnomalyCon - Denver, CO
    A steampunk and alternate history convention?  What?!  Count me in!  If you're in the Denver area, or can get there, this promises to be an incredibly rich event.  I'm on six (!) panels throughout the weekend, discussing everything from gender and diversity to character building and romance!  If you're at AnomalyCon, look for me and say hello!


    There!  A lot of good stuff on the horizon.  I've got some amazing pictures coming up from my chat with Lt.Col Robert Friend, Tuskegee Airman and all around wonder man.  He's amazing and I can't wait to tell you all about him!

    Now, back to doing laundry.  Have a great week everyone!

    Wednesday, January 14, 2015

    Meet the Author: Museum of History and Art, Ontario, CA

    Museum Logo Diamond

    Wednesday, January 21, 2015 - 5:30 to 7:00 PM
    Museum of History and Art, 225 South Euclid Avenue, Ontario, California 91762

    If you live in Southern California and want to do something awesome, come out to the Museum of History an Art in Ontario for Pioneers in Flight:  Breaking Barriers.  I'll be speaking along with a very special guest-- Tukeegee Airman Lt. Co. Robert J. Friend!  It's going to be amazing, guys.  I'm giddy just thinking about it!

    It's all part of a program on African Americans in Flight.  Check out their calendar for a writing workshop and other aviation-related events!

     Reservations are required.  Just call 909/395-2510.  Hope to see you there!

    And yes, that's Ontario, California.  Not Canada.  Maybe next time!

    Sunday, November 30, 2014

    Where I've Been: The National Book Awards!




    I hope everyone had a delicious Thanksgiving.  I know I have plenty to be grateful for this year. Spending time with friends and family was a good reminder of the bounty in my life.



    One of the things I'm grateful for is my time as a judge in the National Book Awards.  A couple of weeks ago, I flew to New York to meet my fellow judges in the Young People's Literature category face to face.




    We had a fantastic lunch at Gramercy Tavern, and a lively discussion about all of the books we read. By the end of the meal, we had our winner in hand.  We adjourned to dress for the awards ceremony and the big announcement!

    Me, David Shallenberger, Sharon Draper, Starr LaTronica and Rebecca Stead.
    I think I'm the only pop of color in all of Manhattan.

    I have to say, it was incredibly exciting.  I felt like I was getting ready for the Ultimate Prom in the Land of Books!  Everyone at the ceremony was a lit lover, like myself.  I felt the same sense of camaraderie I get at Comic Con, albeit better dressed and colder.  It was 32 degrees when I stepped out in my sleeveless silver dress.  Funny thing is, I wasn't cold at all.  (And not just because of my coat.  Excitement does amazing things-- it keeps you warm, and enables you to walk in high heels on hard pavement.)

    Note the wrist corsage.  Judges get flowers-- just like a prom!


    Ursula Le Guin blew minds with her fiery speech (As evidenced around 3:57, I love that woman! ). Neil Gaiman hugged me-- twice!  (I'm a big nerdy fan, so that's more awesome than I can say.)  And then our gracious chairperson, Sharon Draper, mounted the stage and spoke eloquently of our experience, our process, and our final decision.

    The divine Ms. Sharon Draper with finalist Eliot Schrefer,
    author of the fabulous short-listed Threatened.

    As you likely know by now, the winner of the National Book Award for Young People's Literature went to Jacqueline Woodson for her moving, deeply felt memoir in verse Brown Girl Dreaming.  You can see her acceptance speech here.



    I heartily recommend you pick up a copy.  Regardless of your background, you will find yourself somewhere in those pages.  It's just that good.

    Me and Jacqueline Woodson.  Shining with joy!
    You may have also heard about some controversial comments made at the event.  Jacqueline has addressed them eloquently in an Op Ed in the New York Times.  I won't try to add to what she has to say.  What I will do is tell you we had a wonderful evening, my fellow judges, my wonderful editor (the perfect date!) and I.  The finalists seemed to have a good time, too.  And rumor has it Jacqueline danced the night away knowing she had earned her place of honor with hard work, honesty of voice, and achingly beautiful prose.

    Thank you to the National Book Foundation for an amazing experience.  It was a honor, a struggle (there were a lot of books), a pleasure and the start of some new friendship.  In the Land of Books, that means great things are coming, for writer and reader alike.

    Thursday, November 27, 2014

    Happy Thanksgiving!

    Today I am counting my blessings.  I hope you all do the same and find them plentiful.

    Sunday, September 28, 2014

    The Home Stretch and What's Next

    The National Book Awards Longlists have been announced!



    This signals a slowdown in the crazy that has been the past few months for me. Plenty of other things have been happening, but I hardly looked up from my stack of reading to pay much notice.  Now, with the bulk of the work done (I'll be hashing out the short list with my fellow judges very soon!), I can take a moment to share some nice things.

    First of all, I'd like to say thank you to the fine folks that chose ORLEANS as a:

    2015 Magnolia Book Awards Nominee (which I might have mentioned already.. the mind, these days, really!)

    ORLEANS was written for the people down South, my own mother included.  I'm happy to know my love letter has reached them!

    I've also learned Flygirl is a 2014 ALA Popular Paperback Selection in the category of Conflicted: Life During Wartime.  It's sad to think there's a special category for this, but I am honored to be a part of the literary conversation.

    I've also got a few events coming up:


    Sun, 10/12/14, 2:00 pm – Teen Read Week:  Meet the Author
    Central Library, 630 W. Fifth St., Los Angeles, CA 90071
    Celebrate Teen Read Week by meeting great teen authors, enjoying snacks, and entering to win free books! Author appearances by Cam Baity and Benny Zelkowicz (The First Book of Ore: The Foundry's Edge), Cherry Chevapravatdumrong (Open Mic: Riffs on Life Between Cultures in Ten Voices), Simmone Howell (Girl Defective), Jessica Love (Push Girl), Kathryn Rose (Camelot Burning), and Sherri L Smith (Orleans).

    Thurs., 10/23/14, 8:00 pm – Book’d In Burbank
    Theatre Banshee, 3435 W. Magnolia, Burbank, CA 91505
    Join the season finale of Book’d in Burbank with a selection of Mystery, YA, Horror, Romance and Humor readings from by Steph Cha (Beware, Beware), Sherri L. Smith (Orleans), Devan Sagliani (Zombie Attack:  Army of the Dead), Zoe Archer (Wicked Temptation), Melissa Cutler (Risky Business) and Diane Haithman (Dark Lady of Hollywood).  Tickets available through Eventbrite or at the door.  General admission:  $10.

    Fri. 10/31 – Sun. 11/2/14 – Comikaze Expo – Details TBA

    Wed., 11/18/14 – National Book Awards, NYC


    If you are in the LA area, I hope you'll swing by and say hello.  If you're in New York, maybe I'll run into you at the Strand Bookstore.  When I was an undergrad at NYU, they claimed to have 8 miles of books.  It's gone up to 18 in the intervening years.  I think I could run a marathon in book miles.  (I think I already have!  Here's a great article on judging the National Book Awards).

    Thursday, August 28, 2014

    How I Spent My Summer... and a Sweepstakes!

    Penguin Teen

    Hi kids!

    I've been MIA from the blog, I know, but the light at the end of the National Book Awards Reading Tunnel is in sight!  I'll be back in the next week or so with a new post.

    In the meantime, I'm happy to announce ORLEANS is part of Penguin Teen's End of Summer Sweepstakes!  Enter, and you can win a stack of books.  Come on, hold on to that last bit of summer before the textbooks take over!

    No purchase necessary. US only, age 13 or older. Official rules: http://on.fb.me/VKLZZ3 How to Enter: 1. Follow Penguin Teen on Pinterest 2. Create a board titled "Penguin Teen End of Summer Sweepstakes" 3. Pin at least 1 summer vacation inspired pin to your End of Summer board 4. Use #SummerReads and #PenguinTeen in the description of each pin 5. Post the link to your board in the comments section of this pin 6. One winner will receive the pictured books.
    As part of the sweepstakes, I've done my own bit of school work-- a "How I spent My Summer Vacation" essay.  Check it out and you'll know why I've been offline and on the page.

    Hope your summer was sweet!

    Sherri