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Lamar Giles

8+ suggestions for bookish self-care

By Random howls into the world, Self-care
So much is going on in the world, in our careers, and in our personal lives that it's easy to feel fried. And while the term "self-care" can sound indulgent when so many people are struggling to survive right now, I've begun to see that it's an essential survival skill for your mental health. The pandemic. The election. The demands for social justice. The surreal divisions in our country. The sudden pivot to all things virtual. It's not hard to see why, as a nation, we've turned to our vices against such a toxic backdrop for whatever personal crises we've also faced. In my own life - which often seems so shiny with book news on social media – there have been challenges. Both my Tía Isa and my mother-in law died unspeakably lonely deaths this year because of pandemic restrictions. Our middle daughter, a nurse working in ICU, contracted (and thankfully survived) Co-Vid two weeks ago. Are you wearing a mask to help protect people like Sandra? So, yeah, this has been a year when I've had to remind myself that it is OK to make time to take care of myself and those closest to me. Here are the top five things that have helped me. Getting good sleep:  For rest I turn to reading and ritual. I may read books written for children or I may venture into the world of books for grown-ups. Regardless, I make a ritual of warming some milk with vanilla and cinnamon (recipe...
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Happy New Year! 

By Appearances, The Writing Life, What I'm reading, Writing Workshops
I’ll be honest. It was tough for me to say goodbye to 2019, a year that began and ended with beautiful career highs. So it’s a good thing that January is looking is so fly. To start, I pressed send on my next novel featuring Merci Suárez, and I got to see the gorgeous final art for my upcoming picture book, EVELYN DEL REY IS MOVING AWAY.  You can read all about that and other upcoming book news right here in Publishers Weekly. Ta Da! Check out this gorgeous cover by Sonia Sánchez. But, I’m also doing a few sweet events at the end of the month, including two in my hometown of Richmond, VA, that I’ve been looking forward to for months. First stop: I’ll be in New York City on January 23 for a presentation to teachers. Carl Anderson, author of A Teacher’s Guide to Writing Conferences*, will be presenting, and then I’ll speak on my own days as a writing teacher and my life as an author. Did what I teach about writing reflect what I actually do as an author today? Sometimes – but there’s plenty I’d do differently. Pre-order it now!* I head home on January 25th for an "In Conversation With" appearance with one of my favorite authors, Lamar Giles, at the main branch of the Richmond Public Library. He’s on tour for his new contemporary young adult novel, NOT SO PURE AND SIMPLE (HarperCollins.) It's new this month, and it's been crushing it...
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Helping new voices get heard: VAASL Conference 2017

By Appearances, The Writing Life

Back in 2011,  I was invited to attend the VEMA conference, an annual gathering of school librarians in my state. The event was held in Richmond that year. I had one book out, Milagros, Girl from Away, and so, like a lot of new authors, I sat at a table by myself for most of the evening while other more seasoned authors signed copies and chatted up fans. Here’s what I most remember of that night: one school librarian came to talk to me. Her name was Schenell Agee, and she listened patiently as I stumbled through my conversation about my work and diverse voices and Latino themes. She told me that she organized an end-of-year author event at her middle school. An author visit on the last day of school? I thought. Nuts. Still, we exchanged cards, and she told me that she’d keep me in mind for the future. I expected exactly nothing. I was just grateful that someone had stopped by to ask me anything at all. Eventually, I did go to her school (Metz Middle) – alongside the amazing Floyd Cooper, as I recall. It was a fabulous school visit – not only for how well-organized it was, but also for all it taught me about why it matters to take risks on new writers. A lot has happened since then. VEMA has changed its name to VAASL (Virginia Association of School Librarians). I’ve got a few more titles under my belt. And Schenell Agee is now the…

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Hey book lovers: A LitCrawl Comes to RVA

By Appearances, The Writing Life

Sometimes, it pays off when somebody loses their mind. That’s certainly true for Richmond, which is going to host its first LitCrawl on April 21 and 22, 2017 thanks to what founder Cheryl Pallant calls “writerly insanity.” A LitCrawl is a city-wide event where readings and performances are led by area authors in a variety of venues, from prisons and bars to bookstores and record shops. It’s a movement that grew legs in San Francisco and is spreading far and wide (Here’s how other cities have done it.) But how it reached us here in Richmond, VA, boils down to Cheryl, who was busy planning her wedding, writing a non fiction book and getting ready to publish both a book of poetry and a memoir about her time living in South Korea. “I reached a point in my writing day when I needed a distraction. I too readily checked out Facebook and saw that a friend of mine was involved in a LitCrawl in Denver. I immediately recognized it as a great event and queried if anyone in Richmond was interested. Within an hour, I heard from about 50 folks saying yes.” “Did I really need another sizeable commitment?” Well, no, but she grabbed a few friends anyway and here we are….LitCrawl RVA Now that authors are signing up and making plans for their contributions (website here), she’s sharpening her vision and looking forward to this becoming an annual event with sponsorship behind it. For me, it’s exactly the right idea. Now…

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Lord I Was Born A Ramblin (Wo)maaaan

By Appearances

By far the busiest week I’ve had in a while: 6,412.8 miles in ten days. Whew! Some photos from the road…as many as I remembered to take, starting at the Tucson Festival of the Book.   On to the Virginia Festival of the Book… And wrapping up in Fort Myers Florida for the Southwest Florida Reading Festival.

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Diverse Book Love in Virginia This Week

By Appearances, The Writing Life

I’m on a plane back home this morning, but I’ll have just enough time to toss the dirty clothes in the washer and head west on I-64 to Charlottesville for the Virginia Festival of the Book being held this week. Here’s the schedule; as usual, something for all tastes – from chefs and cookbooks, to cultural icons and children’s book authors. No need to worry that you’ll feel out of your comfort zone. Just get out there and support the literary life of you home state, friends. My own visit is quick this year. Two school stops (Southwood Boys & Girls Club and Jack Jouette Middle School) but also an important Thursday evening panel that comes against the backdrop of the alarming national conversation (if we can we still call it that) about immigrants in this country. I hope you’ll attend Beyond Background Characters: Life in Hyphen-American. Check out the author bios, and join us! When: Thursday, March 17, 2016, 8:00 PM Where: UVa Culbreth Theater (109 Culbreth Rd, Charlottesville, VA 22903) Who:  Sara Farizan Sara Farizan, author of Tell Me Again How a Crush Should Feel, is the daughter of Iranian immigrants, and was born in Massachusetts. She is an MFA graduate of Lesley University and holds a BA in film and media studies from American University. She is also the author of If You Could Be Mine.   Lamar Giles Lamar Giles, author of the YA thrillers Endangered and Fake ID, which was a 2015 Edgar Award nominee, is a…

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