Building a Classroom Library

So, this week, let’s start off with some great news: I have accepted a position as a Language Arts teacher at a local high school! I am so excited for this position. Some of you may know, I originally went in to get my Master’s so I could eventually teach on the college level, but, along the way, I remembered my biggest influences were my high school teachers. Those were the women that built up my love of literature. So if I want to have the same kind of influence, high school was a better place to go.

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So I spent this summer doing everything I had to in order to qualify to teach this fall, and it all worked. I am so excited! I know I said that before, but even just typing this out, I can’t stop smiling.

I’ll be teaching American Literature, and, in high school, that usually means reading the classics. The Crucible, The Great Gatsby, other books by old dead white men…The only book I know of on our syllabus by someone of color is Their Eyes Were Watching God.

I adore the classics, but man do I wish to show kids in this predominately black school that they are represented in literature. I also think students would enjoy reading more if they had books they could related to. Because of these desires, I am setting up a mini library in my classroom.

university student reading in libraryI am donating books myself, both from my personal library and buying books specifically for this. But, as they say, it takes a village to raise a child and I can’t do this alone. This is where you can come into the picture.

I have created an Amazon Wishlist of classic novels and YA books that I would love to have to build this library. Most of the books are by people of color, like most of my students will be. It is important to me that my students get a chance to be able expand their world view.

I am asking if you can donate a book off of the wish list. If it is in your heart to donate something and do not see it on the list, please do not feel like you cannot. My students and I will be eternally grateful for anything you donate. Even if you are not able to donate, simply sharing this blog post will be appreciated.

Thank you to anything you do for these kids. They may not know you, but the knowledge you will be helping bestow on them will impact them for the rest of their lives.

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#PitchWars: Time To #PimpMyBio!

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What’s up #PitchWars mentors and mentees. I have to admit, I’m kind of nervous. I’ve never done #PitchWars before, let alone #PimpMyBio. Not totally sure what is supposed to go in these things, but after cruising through a few posts, I am going to try my hand at it. As they say, you miss 100% of the opportunities you don’t try.

ABOUT MY MS:

If you are looking for a Robin Hood retelling with a mix of Six of CrowsVeronica Mars and Oceans 11, keep reading!

The book I am submitting to #PitchWars is called STAR OF XIANU. It is a YA Contemporary Fantasy about a badass lady thief, the Prince from another realm that blackmails her, the quest to find a stolen jewel, and how two total opposites fall in love.

As with everything I write, my book is #OwnVoices and features a diverse cast of characters.

If you like heists, lady thieves, hot and kind men, snarky women, royalty, Chinese influences, #BlackGirlMagic, stealing for the poor, strong family relationships, female friendships, sex positivity, and not-so-forbidden love, you might just love STAR OF XIANU.

AESTETHIC BOARD:

SoX Aesthetics

If you are interested in more pictures that has inspired STAR OF XIANU, check out my vision board.

COMPS:

  • Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
  • Ghost Girl In the Corner by Daniel Jose Older
  • Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  • Oceans 11
  • Heist Society by Ally Carter
  • Veronica Mars
  • Tower Heist

MY FAVORITE AUTHORS/BOOKS/MOVIES:

  • All things Jane Austen
  • All things Alyssa Cole
  • Leverage
  • American Street by Ibi Zoboi
  • Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling
  • Gilmore Girls
  • Jessica Darling Series by Megan McCafferty
  • The Magicians
  • Throne of Glass Series by Sarah J. Maas
  • Kindred by Octavia Butler
  • Clueless
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • Labyrinth Lost by Zoraida Cordova
  • Gemma Doyle Series by Libba Bray
  • Miss Representation
  • Between the Covers

ABOUT ME:

Now, a little about me. I have lived in Atlanta almost all my life, but I have dreams of moving cross-country to L.A. I am a 28 year old grad student at Clark Atlanta University studying Literature, with a specialty in 18th century English lit and got my undergrad degree at Georgia State University.

I’ve been writing basically all my life and I don’t think I could ever stop, even if I never get published. I am a storyteller at heart. I am also an avid reader, and read what I write, namely romance and fantasy. Though I have self-published some romance, I want to go traditional for my YA.

I am almost constantly on Twitter and also spend a lot of time on Instagram and Pinterest.

MY MENTOR WISHLIST:

  • Willing to work on big and small picture edits with me
  • Not afraid to really dig down and tell me the issues with my MS
  • Doesn’t mind my anal organizational habits
  • Communicative and willing to brainstorm ideas
  • Willing to do more than one pass if time permits
  • Gives a mix of praise and critique
  • Hopefully, and most importantly, a lifelong friend

Thank you to Brenda Drake and the mentors for volunteering your time to help us aspiring authors.

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15 Jane Austen Adaptations You Need In Your Life

2017 marks the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. In the past few weeks there have been celebrations, including the reveal of a ten pound note featuring a portrait of Austen. She was only 41 when she passed, but in that time she managed to write seven novels, along with many more short stories found in her juvenilia. But eventually you do come to an end of her bibliography and want to continue reading books set in her world.

JAFF (Jane Austen Fanfiction) is a popular niche, especially in self-publishing. They tell stories of what-ifs, variations, and sequels with Austen’s characters, generally Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet, one of the world’s most beloved couples. I’ve even been known to write a few of these myself. But self-publishing is not the only way to find works inspired by Austen. Here is a list of 20 books inspired by one of the most enduring authors of the Western canon.

JANE AUSTEN BOOK RECS

  1. Bridget Jones’ Diary by Helen Fielding- (Pride and Prejudice)
  2. Seeking Mansfield by Kate Watson- (Mansfield Park)
  3. Pride/Prejudice by Ann Herendeen- (Pride and Prejudice)
  4. Death Comes to Pemberley by P.D. James- (Pride and Prejudice)
  5. The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick- (Pride and Prejudice)
  6. Sense and Sensibility by Joanna Trollope- (Sense and Sensibility)
  7. Eligible by Curtis Sittenfield (Pride and Prejudice)
  8. Darcy and Lizzy by April Floyd- (Pride and Prejudice)
  9. The Proud and the Prejudiced by Colette L. Saucier- (Pride and Prejudice)
  10. Prep and Prejudice by Miren B. Flores- (Pride and Prejudice)
  11. To Capture Mr. Darcy by Elizabeth Ann West- (Pride and Prejudice)
  12. Jane Austen Goes to Hollywood by Abby McDonald- (Sense and Sensibility)
  13. Fall For You by Cecilia Gray- (Pride and Prejudice)
  14. Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg- (Pride and Prejudice)
  15. Pride and Prejudice and Mistletoe by Melissa De La Cruz- (Pride and Prejudice)

 

Bonus: Here are some great films/shows based on Austen

If you like these books, I recommend you you look up A Lady on Amazon and read as many of these wonderful books as you can.

Everyone Wants to Be Famous

Yup. Everyone wants to be famous. Except me. Someone mentioned to me that the screenplay I am currently working on had the potential to make me famous and it totally freaked me out. Sure I talk about how I want to be the next Shonda Rhimes, but for the most part, writers can be household names and no one remembers what they look like.

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Writers have the freedom to walk down the street and no one recognize them. Sure it can be argued that it is the downplaying of the arts and writers, should be more exalted. They are the ones creating our tv, movies, and books, basically most forms of entertainment. And I agree with them. But I must say, until that changes, I want to take advantage of it.

I want the world to have a little joy brought into their lives because of the things I write, and I would love to get paid for that, but I do not want to sacrifice my privacy and sanity for it.

So, basically I want the perks of fame (wealth, respect), but without the downside (lack of privacy). Unless I become a huge writer-director, I think this is totally possible and I refuse to let anyone tell me it isn’t.

June Check In

Can I start of by saying June was terrible for my writing? My friends keep telling me to not be hard on myself because I spent the month mostly novel revising and I had a birthday and major test to prepare for, not to mention thesis revisions. So yeah, June was busy, but I am still disappointed in the progress I made

 

July GYWO: 7,922 out of 30,000

 

Projects-

Star of Xianu: 4,178 (64,479 out of 70,000 total)

JAFF Novel: 3,870 (22,908 out of 35,000)

 

To date-

GYWO: 110,526 out of 200,000

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Thoughts:

I’m doing a writing retreat during July, plus Camp NaNoWriMo, so I am hoping that July goes much better. I am determined to do better, but I am also determined to accept that not every moth will have high word counts. I need to forgive myself for June and know I will move forward with my writing. As my friends tell me, and I tell other writers, every new word counts.

Book Giveaway!

I’m hosting a fun giveaway for Little and Lion by Brandy Colbert. I am so excited for this book. We need more books that show black queer love and discuss mental illness, which are both still relatively taboo subjects.

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When Suzette comes home to Los Angeles from her boarding school in New England, she isn’t sure if she’ll ever want to go back. L.A. is where her friends and family are (along with her crush, Emil). And her stepbrother, Lionel, who has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder, needs her emotional support.
But as she settles into her old life, Suzette finds herself falling for someone new…the same girl her brother is in love with. When Lionel’s disorder spirals out of control, Suzette is forced to confront her past mistakes and find a way to help her brother before he hurts himself–or worse.

The contest will run until 11:59pm EST July 31st, then I will hold a random drawing and announce on August 1st. If you want to win a copy of Little and Lion all you have to do is go on my Twitter page, follow me, and retweet this tweet:

That’s it!
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July Book of the Month: American Street by Ibi Zoboi

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The rock in the water does not know the pain of the rock in the sun.

On the corner of American Street and Joy Road, Fabiola Toussaint thought she would finally find une belle vie—a good life.

But after they leave Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Fabiola’s mother is detained by U.S. immigration, leaving Fabiola to navigate her loud American cousins, Chantal, Donna, and Princess; the grittiness of Detroit’s west side; a new school; and a surprising romance, all on her own.

Just as she finds her footing in this strange new world, a dangerous proposition presents itself, and Fabiola soon realizes that freedom comes at a cost. Trapped at the crossroads of an impossible choice, will she pay the price for the American dream?

American Street is a book everyone needs to read ASAP. A look into the life of an immigrant as Americans fight themselves to realize the real life struggles immigrants face every day. This book is a great look into a life few of us know or understand. It is great for proponents of immigration acceptance and those who have yet to see the hardships of immigration.