Wednesday, July 20, 2005



THE INDIANA BLACK Expo in Indianapolis was a success. For the first hour, Cheri & I participated in a Fiction Authors’ Panel with two other authors (it was supposed to be three but one was a no-show). It was being broadcast live remote from WTLC Jazz Station. We were in a large room which must have seated at least 100 people, but there were only about 10-15 people, which was a good thing. We authors were on the stage with microphones in front of us and each of us introduced ourselves and gave a brief synopsis of our books. I wasn’t nervous but I just couldn’t get my words together and almost immediately my throat got dry and raspy. We then went up to the podium one by one and read an excerpt. Since I was last, I had time to prepare a little introduction and redeem the previously skimpy synopsis of my book. I read the prologue which is only a page and a quarter long and quickly sat down. Afterwards, the moderator, a self-published author, asked us questions. Then the audience asked us questions, mostly about how we got published, whether we would recommend self-publishing or major publisher. I kept my answers brief & to the point; the other authors gave lengthy answers. Before I knew it, the hour was up.

FROM 2:00 – 4:00 PM, WE sat in a room called The Literary Café (though we were not provided with coffee or water) to sell our books. I believe we sold about 7-8 books a piece. We met a lot of nice people, and a couple of customers who had already read the book. I came around from my comfort zone behind my table and approached potential customers, which is something that used to be hard for me (approaching strangers); I handed them a brochure while giving them a synopsis of the book. The highlight of my day was when a reader (Lena) told me Choose Me was “awesome” and that it inspired her. When she said she came specifically to meet me, I was cheesing like the Cheshire cat. However, she forgot to bring the book but she insisted that I sign something so she could stick it in the book. This is one of those moments authors live for; not the critics, but the readers.

aunts came (she bought both our books) and blessed us with free tickets to a concert that night to hear Ashford & Simpson, Cameo, Keith Sweat, Doug E. Fresh, Whodini, and Stephanie Mills. I loved Cameo’s music the best and it was refreshing to hear Doug E. Fresh beat-boxing (when hip-hop was hip-hop). Stephanie Mills was last on the roster, which was horrible considering it was already 1:00 a.m. and we had to get up early the next morning. Man, her voice is the best. None of today’s singers got anything on her, not Alicia Keys (whose music I like), India.arie (my girl), or Beyonce. We decided to leave around 1:30 to avoid the mad exit so I didn’t get to hear Stephanie sing “Home.” It’s been a while since I went to a concert (Prince’s last year) & it brought back memories. Thanks Aunt Diane!

I ACTUALLY SOLD two books to males, which was surprising. I approached them with the line: “Are you married? Got a girlfriend? A mom? Want to buy her a good book?” One guy was married and after I gave him a brief synopsis, he bought it for his wife. The other guy was the director of African American admissions at Wabash University in Cartersville. Cheri and I engaged him in a conversation his school. Then I told him: “My book features a director of African American admissions!” And he said: “This is your book?” I was like: “What do you think I’m doing here?” I guess he thought I was just selling the books for Walk Worthy Press. Then he bought the book!

THE IN-STORE STOCK signings were a different story. While the Barnes & Noble store in Clearwater Crossing had three copies of my book, they had none of Cheri’s. The B. Dalton store (Glendale Center) had no copies of either of our books; however, they both had a sales history which means they had sold. The B. Dalton store (Circle Center) had nine copies of my book, but had no copies of Cheri’s, even though they informed me that they were all “waiting at the front desk.” When I asked them how long it would take to request her books, he said “by the end of the week.” The manager, James Wise, had Cheri sign author cards to insert in the books once they arrived and promised to display the books prominently. (The store has an African American Interest display right behind the cash register.) He also said that if we want to come back for a “real” signing (as opposed to a phony one?) in the future, we were welcome.

WE LEFT INDIANAPOLIS around 3:00 p.m. and got so lost, we had to stop three times to ask for directions. I think it was about 4:30 p.m. when we finally got on I-74 West toward Rantoul. I was so tired from lack of sleep, and my eyes were burning from the sun’s glare, the drive was grueling. I could not get to Chicago fast enough. Even though I was driving 75-80 mph in the fast lane, cars were tailgating me trying to get around me. So I refused to move. I know you’re supposed to move to the passing lane & let the faster cars pass you up, but does that rule still apply if the cars are exceeding the speed limit more than you are? It felt so good to be back in Chicago, even though I complain about it so much, there’s just no place like home. I could not get to bed fast enough.

I WAS PERUSING the Puerto Rico Power website (, I came across an upcoming Puerto Rican cultural festival in Chicago, El Barrio Art Festival. El Barrio Art Festival is a multidisciplinary community cultural art festival showcasing Puerto Rican visual artists, craftmakers, musicians, performers, poets, video filmmakers & more in the Chicago and Midwest area.

LAST NIGHT, I sent an e-mail to the program organizer, Jorge Félix, about the possibility of my participating. It turned out there was a planning meeting today, which he invited me to attend to see if this was something that would interest me. The meeting took place at the Humboldt Horse Stables outside, because it was so hot inside, and it was really informative. I got to congregate with some very enlightening Puerto Rican artists I never knew existed in my city. There was this one guy, an actor (who reminds me of this deep-voiced Jewish actor on TV who always plays a lawyer); he spoke so eloquently and has recently performed in the play, “Short Eyes,” by Miguel Pinero. It was awesome listening to the various accents (from Chicago-ese to heavily accented English to I-don’t speak-a-lick-of-Spanish English). I just came from the meeting (he had already put my name on the draft program schedule!). I will be provided with a table where I could sell my books & later provide a 15-minute reading at the performance stage. I’m thinking of hiring a couple of amateur actors to read some excerpts as Eva & Adam so I won’t have to do it.

HERE IS THE info for the upcoming festival:
Saturday, August 20, 2005, 12:00 Noon – 6:00 pm
El Barrio Art Festival
Institute of Puerto Rican Arts and Culture (IPRAC)
Humboldt Park Stables
3015 West Division
Chicago IL 60622

FRIDAY, JULY 22, 2005
4:00 – 6:00 PM

at University of Chicago Bookstore
970 East 58th (at Ellis)
Chicago, IL
P: 773-702-5284

SATURDAY, July 23, 2005
3:30 – 5:30 PM
Afrocentric Bookstore II
4655 South King Drive
Chicago, IL 60653
P: 773-924-3966

SATURDAY, July 30, 2005
1:00 – 3:00 PM
Chicago Public Library-Bessie Coleman Branch
731 E 63rd StreetChicago, IL 60637
P: 312-747-7760
Appearance with Cheri Paris Edwards, Author of
Plenty Good Room

Love, Peace & Soul
Amor, Paz y Alma



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