Paula

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

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Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Raising a Princess

There used to be a time when the word Princess had a certain dignity to it. That was before the tiara - world wide symbol of princess status, became associated with bridezillas screaming for obedience from their wedding party and vendors and twenty-one year olds wearing them in a bar on their birthday in an attempt to hold on to a youth quickly slipping past them.

Now you call somebody a princess and it's almost tantamount to a backhand compliment.

That's the problem with how fast the world changes and people's ignorance of the past. Too many words have been permanently redefined based on changing behavior.

But I still hold on to princess as a positive. In royalty, a princess is someone who is groomed in not only social etiquette but community awareness. Real princesses are aware that the world does not revolve around them, but that they're fortunate for their status and must continue to nurture the world and people around them. Pay it forward and back, simultaneously.

I'm raising two princesses. Yes, they're slightly spoiled. In my opinion, every kid should be to a degree. But they're also aware that there's a difference between good fortune and good luck and that the bulk of their lifestyle and values are based on the former.

They're being taught to treat others as they want to be treated. To have good judgement without being moralistic and to surround themselves with those who love them and can be trusted.

One day they'll be queens of their own household and maybe have little princesses of their own. And maybe by that time the true definition of the word will have righted itself.

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

You know what time it is...

I have fought this whole only focus on all things Black during February. But you reach a point in your life where you must say - well at least we have February. And the biggest event of the month for me is 28 Days Later, over at The Brown Bookshelf.

The little project I began with Varian Johnson, Kelly Starling-Lyons and Carla Sarratt still endures. We're in our third year and though we've had some changes - Carla had to move on, and Tameka F. Brown and Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, joined, ushering in a new phase - we're strong as ever.

Stop by and check out the hottest in brown children's literature. Pass on the link and support the authors with a book purchase or borrow from your local lib.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Agent Appreciation Day: She Gets Me!

If someone asked you why you married your spouse, you'd probably have a few dozen reasons, among them things as small as, I love his eyes. We'd all say something different. But one thing we may all say in common is, he/she gets me.

There's nothing like having someone "get" you. Better still, when they love you in spite of some of your less than admirable traits.

Choosing an agent isn't like marriage - the agent chooses you and you date around quite a bit before you get that "ring."

But it is like marriage because, in the end, no matter why you were chosen the grand hope is that your agent gets you. Mine does. And she has from the beginning.

When Jen Carlson read the manuscript for So Not The Drama(can it really be 4 years ago?!), it wasn't love at first sight (unless, it was. Jen?). There was definitely some affection there, yes. But, more importantly, between the manuscript and my query she got me and my mission, right away.

All I've ever wanted to do was write books where the characters were diverse but the story was not about race. And I do. But I needed Jen to explain how important that sort of literature was to the publishing industry. She's been my voice to editors. She's been my advocate who has to constantly point out - her books appeal universally to teens but they put African American protags on the stage. Her work is good. It's needed. It's marketable and it's fun.

Imagine that having to be your job all day - convincing someone of something you believe in. That's what agents do, day in and day out, across their list of rosters.

It's got to be exhausting. I only do it for my books and it burned me out in less than three years.

On top of all that, she's had to talk me off the ledge many days. Explain that damned royalty statement over and over. Ease my anxiety over the ever so slow submission process. And, be a cheerleader when I feel like saying, to hell with it.

I laugh when people question if the 15% paid to agents is worth it.

Do all of the above on your own AND still write books and then you tell me.

Jen Carlson, today, I salute you!

Look at all this agent love over at Lisa and Laura's blog.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Schizophrenic P

Newsflash:

I am Black.

I am a woman.

I am a writer.

Yes, yes, I know. Astounding. Who knew, right?

Well, the problem, it seems like lately these three different traits are fracturing me more than they're melding. I've come to realize it because my social networking revolves a great deal around them.

I have sites/forums and circles of friends I frequent because I'm a children's author. Others where the point is I'm a Black children's authors. Others because I'm a female author.

It's all very...headspinning.

Diana Peterfreund and I, made a bet, that we could go 14 days with only being on the 'net for 90 minutes daily. Today, I popped onto Twitter and found that some of my other peers are taking a total hiatus from Twitter until January. And it's sounding like a damned good idea. If nothing, it'll give me time to pull myself back together so I'm just P again. Not P, the Black, YA author chick.

Social networking is great, but it also leads to a bit of over exposure to social circles that, while has plenty positives, has one really huge negative: it's too fracking distracting!

I'm starting to ponder how I ended up to my eyeballs in nings, blogs, forums, chats and tweets.

I love the socializing but I'm also feeling more than a little schizzy, right now trying to keep up with all these different outlets that represent the many facets of myself.

I've not yet dedicated myself to a hiatus but if you don't hear from me, you'll know what I decided.