It’s time to buff up the place. Live up to my About Me statement below:
Chicago, freeze-dried bodies, kids sleeping on the streets. That’s what this blog is about. What’s what my novel is about. Dark urban graffiti, hard rock music and doing what you gotta do to survive.
I’d love to fill this site end-to-end with throw-ups and tags that make it as representative of the streets as Painted Black is. So I’m asking for your help. Send me your one liners and murals. Snap that back-to-back on your neighborhood wall and send the pics to me. Help me dress up the entire site by suggesting post topics, widget titles and YouTube vids.
Show me how cool you are by burning how uncool I am.
Hang your skateboard up over there on the wall a sec and snap some fat caps on some cannons. Let’s bomb this place.
The publisher of Painted Black, New Libri Press, just started a new blog. I hope they continue posting great articles like the one below.
A small publisher is part of your support network, but only a part. Whether you self-publish, or go with a publisher, you will be doing a lot of work, for a LONG TIME. Agents, editors, and publishers know this. This is part of what they look for with an author. Yes, we would love to find the next super star (where is that luck?), but we know we can bank on long term relationships, long term work, someone committed to the craft and to growing.
via Small Press Dances with Elephants: Self-Publishing is TOO Easy.
V.S. Grenier from Families Matter gave me a chance to do a guest post at their site. In it I offer suggestions for alternate ways to respond to a homeless person who asks you for money. I’ll be doing a podcast interview with Family Matters in May or June and will post the date once it’s confirmed.
The most important thing to do when confronted by a homeless person is to NOT jump to conclusions. Keep in mind that the person in front of you is a PERSON first, just like you. Unless you know a person’s whole story, you should never pass judgment on how they are living their lives.
via SFC Blog: Families Matter: Guest Post: Sharing Their Stories by Debra R. Borys.
I learned about a great program in Chicago that offers Adventure Programming to at-risk youth. I am marking the site because I just know I’ve got to use this program in an upcoming Jo Sullivan novel somewhere. Chicago Adventure Therapy (CAT) believes teaching things like kayaking, rock climbing, cycling and hiking can make a big difference in improving a youth’s outlook on life and offers hope for their future.
There’s a great blog on the site as well, and I found one story about a young man that reminds me an awful lot of the character Chris in Painted Black, who is the embodiment of a couple of youth I personally met myself when I volunteered. Here’s an excerpt from one post that is exactly the kind of thing Chris would do.
[Here’s] how he helped one of the mentors with his program on our camping trip: She was terrified of heights, to the point of tears and hyperventilation. “Rico” went back down the trail, sat with her, talked with her, and then walked back up the trail slowly right in front of her so she could watch his feet, and make it up the trail.
via In the Balance | Chicago Adventure Therapy.
Painted Black is fiction. Or is it? In it I tried, as all writers do, to create a world as real as the one we walk around in all the time. For Painted Black, I tried to reflect what it actually feels like to be homeless on the streets. Because once a person experiences that, their misconceptions about the kind of people they meet there undergoes major change for the better.
It is sometimes difficult to tell which comes first, the reality or the fiction. I moved to Chicago from small town Illinois specifically with the idea in mind of having an opportunity to volunteer with the homeless. I know I had already begun writing my Jo Sullivan series before the move, but can’t remember now when I decided to center each book around the life of a homeless character. Does the writer write what she dreams and then find herself living it, or does the act of writing spark change in the life of the writer?