Monday, February 28, 2011

Upcoming Events & Signings

I'm in the revision cave, but here is a list of events where I'll be signing and/or reading for the next few months. This is a pretty solid schedule, but some things are still subject to change. More info will be posted closer to the events . . .

Thursday, March 17th, 10 a.m. - 12 p.m., Teen Author Festival, NYC - Reading from Jazz in Love at a Queens library (location to be announced).

Sunday, March 20th, Books of Wonder, 1:45 p.m.

Thursday, April 14th, keynote speech at San Gabrielino High School, San Gabriel, CA

Thursday, April 21st, 6:30 p.m. Toronto Women's Bookstore - Discussion with authors Zetta Elliott and Vivek Shraya on publishing options for under-represented voices. This discussion will be live-streamed from the bookstore, so even if you cannot attend IRL (in real life), you can attend virtually!

Saturday, April 23rd, 1:00 p.m. Booksigning at Yorkdale's Chapters/Indigo bookstore with authors Helene Boudreau, Mahtab Narsimhan, and Cheryl Rainfield.

Saturday, May 14th, 1 p.m. Diversity in YA tour with Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, Jacqueline Woodson, Rita Williams Garcia, Matt De La Pena, and Kekla Magoon.

If you're in any of the above areas, please stop by and say hello!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

LIVE-streamed Book Launch

My dear friend, Sheila Batacharya, is celebrating the launch of a book she co-edited about the 1997 murder of Reena Virk in British Columbia, Canada. Reena Virk was a Punjabi teen who was murdered by a group of teen girls (and one boy) she wanted desperately to be friends with.

Most of the media coverage focused on the "girl-violence" aspect of the case and all but ignored the glaring race and hetero-normative elements. The book is called Reena Virk - Critical Perspectives on a Canadian Murder and takes a closer look at some of the issues that went largely unreported in mainstream media coverage.

The book launch will be live-streamed from the Toronto Women's Bookstore tomorrow, Thursday, February 24th, from 6:30-8:30 pm EST. At 6:30 EST tomorrow, go to, or I will most definitely be watching.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Margaret Atwood on Changes in Publishing

I love this keynote address from award-winning poet and author Margaret Atwood at the Tools of Change conference. She talks about authors being the "dead moose" of publishing and says, "Authors are a primary source. Everything else in the world of publishing depends on them." She includes libraries, schools, book reviewers/bloggers, publishers, agents, printers, book cover designers, etc. in that analogy--all of whom rely, first and foremost, on authors to write books. She also says that authors are like anchovies in the food chain, and the anchovies are getting restless. Ha! She's fun, witty and engaging, and offers some great food for thought. (No pun intended! But she does use lots of food metaphors.)

Watch live streaming video from oreillyconfs at

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Nerds Heart YA

If you're a book blogger, or just an avid reader who loves YA books, please consider going on over to the Nerds Heart YA site and nominating your favourite YA title/s for their 2010 tournament. Here is the criteria, as per their website:

1. Title can have no more than 15 reviews published throughout the book blogosphere
2. Title must be either authored by or include a character within the following category: Person(s) of Color (POC), GLBT, Disability, Mental Illness, Religious Lifestyle, Lower Socioeconomic Status or Plus Size.
3. All titles must have been published between January 1 – December 31, 2010

I just nominated my first title. LOVE it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Jazz & Jeeves?

Happy Valentine's Day, everyone!! Today, being the day that it is, I just had to share this video from UK rappers, Raxstar and Sunit. It's called "Keep it Undercover," and Jeeves could totally have written it for Jazz . . .

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blog Tour, Interviews, and a Few Guest Posts

All last month and most of this month, I've been doing interviews and guest posts. And while I love doing them, I'm going to have to impose a temporary freeze. I spend quite a bit of time and energy on these posts because I put so much of myself into them, but afterward, I am simply too exhausted to access that creative side in order to write new work. So, if you'd like to do an interview or have an idea for a guest post, please ask me a few months down the road? I would love to consider the request then :).

However, if you're not sick of me like I am, here are a few links:

An Equal Place at the Table (guest post on YA lit and representation)

The Book Smugglers' review of Jazz in Love

Review of Jazz in Love at Bibliophilia (love this blog by the very awesome, very talented 16-yr-old - Maggie Desmond-O'Brien)

This month and into next, I'll be doing a blog tour with Teen Book Scene. Click on the banner above for details, or follow the posts here. I had so much fun with these - there's even a character interview on the 28th with Deesh, Jazz's mom :D.

Ari's interview for Reading in Color will be up beginning of March and I'll link to that, as well. She asks some questions no one has asked me yet about Jazz in Love.

In the meantime, happy almost-Spring, all! (Yes, I'm very hopeful. Especially as the wind howls outside my window.) Please send lots of creative writing-y vibes this way :).

Friday, February 4, 2011

Ahmed, on Killjoys

I saw this excerpt on Leonineclaire's tumblr and wanted to share. It's an extract from Sara Ahmed's "Feminist Killjoys (and Other Willful Subjects)". I could see great classroom discussion/debate emerging around this one excerpt:
“Take the example of racism. It can be willful even to name racism: as if the talk about divisions is what is divisive. Given that racism recedes from social consciousness, it appears as if the ones who “bring it up” are bringing it into existence . . . . To recede is to go back or withdraw. To concede is to give way, to yield. People of color are often asked to concede to the recession of racism: we are asked to “give way” by letting it “go back.” Not only that: more than that. We are often asked to embody a commitment to diversity. We are asked to smile in their brochures. The smile of diversity is a way of not allowing racism to surface; it is a form of political recession.
Racism is very difficult to talk about as racism can operate to censor the very evidence of its existence. Those who talk about racism are thus heard as creating rather than describing a problem. The stakes are indeed very high: to talk about racism is to occupy a space that is saturated with tension. History is saturation. One of the findings of a research project I was involved with on diversity was that because racism saturates everyday and institutional spaces, people of color often make strategic decisions not to use the language of racism.[18] If you already pose a problem, or appear “out of place” in the institutions of whiteness, there can be “good reasons” not to exercise what is heard as a threatening vocabulary.[19] Not speaking about racism can be a way of inhabiting the spaces of racism. You minimize the threat you already are by softening your language and appearance, by keeping as much distance as you can from the figure of the angry person of color. Of course, as we know, just to walk into a room can be to lose that distance, because that figure gets there before you do.

When you use the very language of racism you are heard as “going on about it,” as “not letting it go.” It is as if talking about racism is what keeps it going. Racism thus often enters contemporary forms of representation as a representation of a past experience.”
You can read the rest of the article here.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Daughters of Kali

I'm very excited to share that I have a short story in this month's issue of Expanded Horizons magazine. The piece is called Daughters of Kali and it is my first published piece of speculative fiction for adults (er - that's written under my own name). I love the graphic they included with the piece, too.

Here's an excerpt:
She paid them no mind.‭ ‬She was used to gossip.‭ ‬Her mother was an unconventional woman who caused the village women to whisper like leaves in a storm.‭ ‬Her mother was a woman who’d never bowed to touch her father’s feet as custom dictated.‭ ‬She wore what she wished.‭ ‬She had two girls and refused to‭ “‬try for a boy.‭” ‬She adored and educated her daughters,‭ ‬and she did so with aplomb,‭ ‬often showing her affection in public.
The only reason Mother was never sent packing was that Father stood directly in the line of fire whenever anyone had anything to say.‭ “‬My wife does all she does with my blessing.‭ ‬If anyone takes issue,‭ ‬let him come to me.‭”
And come to him,‭ ‬they did.‭ ‬All the husbands and fathers and uncles regularly harassed him for setting a poor example and allowing his wife and girls far too much freedom.‭ “‬You’ll have all the women of the village wanting the same treatment,‭ ‬Harbir‭! ‬What will become of our traditions and way of life‭?”
But her father never budged.‭ ‬And while the other women in the village set their feet on prescribed paths,‭ ‬they did so with a hint of mischief.‭ ‬Just a small sidestep every now and then,‭ ‬much to Mother’s secret delight.
Read the rest here and let me know what you think!