Tuesday, October 25, 2005

Cruisin' By Sea & Land

I just stepped off the Carnival Pride after cruisin' around the Yucatan Peninsula. I have never gone a cruise before, and the African American Book Club Summit by Sea proved to be a wonderful choice for my first trip. My cabin mate Nilka and her friends took this amateur cruiser under their wings and showed me the ropes. I enjoyed hanging out with other book lovers from around the country, and it's always a treat to meet fellow authors, especially when they reveal themselves to be warm people.
Eric Jerome Dickey is so accessible and humble. You would’ve never have known that word spread quickly that he was on the ship because he never failed to appear to other author’s workshops and readings. I have to try to get to the theater rendition of his bestseller Cheaters at the Beacon Theatre later this month.
Would you have guessed that Nina Foxx was a karoake diva? Thanks to her disc collection, we had some “culturally relevant” tunes from which to choose. She brought songs by Blu Cantrell, Missy Elliot and, of course, Whitney Houston. But I kept my implied promise in the reader’s guide to Explicit Content and left the singing and rapping to everyone else. Nina's lovely sister Linda is in the above photo with me along with Christian author Kendra Norman-Bellamy.
Reshonda Tate Billingsley tickled us with her anecdotes about the trials and tribulations of book marketing. Let me take this opportunity to correct the misperception: Reshonda is a not a Christian author. Her novels are inspirational with edge!

I think it’s unanimous. . . Travis Hunter is a riot! If the man ever tires of writing novels, he should give standup comedy a shot. We had a great conversation about the current state of commercial hip hop. His Hearts of Men Foundation has a similar mission to my organization Chica Luna Productions.
Mary Monroe was so sweet. And disciplined I should as she was attempting to put time in on her latest project as we cruised. I tried to follow her example, but it was easier said than done.

I mean, how could I pass up an opportunity to become a road warrior? When our ship docked into Puerto Vallarta, I headed on an ATV adventure. For several hours we drove through the dusty Sierra Madre mountains and then ended our journey with a couple of shots of Mexico's best tequila. As you can see by the photo below, I did not drink and drive.

There's so many other wonderful people I met that I wish I could name, but now that I've extended the life of my tan and finished the copyedits of my debut "chica lit" novel Divas Don't Yield (to be published under my real name by One World/Random House), I have to cruise on back to my third Black Artemis joint Burn. In fact, I'm almost done, and NAL/Penguin should have its cover so that I can post it soon.