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    I am a fangirl at heart. My heart races. My adrenaline soars. I love that feeling. It's a basic physiological response that can be summed up in that I feel like I'm thirteen years old again and getting to see the latest teen heart-throb in person. That's how I was today - totally fumbling over myself, as if my crutches didn't make that an easy move anyway. I was talking too quickly, saying stupid things that made no sense to anyone but myself, explaining in detail about things that were irrelevant. I was embarrassed at how nervous I was. Here was my chance to rub elbows with my hoped-for peers and I was behaving like a bumbling idiot. Need I go on?
    “Wow Machelle, what gives? What made you all twitterpated?” you ask. Well, sit down and and let me tell you. Tera Lynn Childs (her latest book, the merlicious Forgive My Fins will be followed by the release of Sweet Venom this fall,, Tracy Deebs (her Tempest Rising debuted this past May!, and Jennifer Archer (Her YA debut – by no means from a newbie author - Through Her Eyes were at A Real Bookstore in The Village at Fairview (Allen, TX) for the CHILLS AND THRILLS TEEN BOOK SIGNING TOUR. As if that wasn't enough, Rosemary Clement-Moore (the brains behind journalist Maggie Quinn's adventures and the author of The Splendor Falls, was hanging around for good measure.
    I had missed Rachel Caine (author of Bite Club, part of the Morganville Vampires' fame, both at A Real Bookstore and at The Smith Library in Wylie, TX. Geez! Can you believe it? Two different nights and I couldn't make either of them. It's all good. I'll catch Rachel on the flip side.
    To meet the Thrill and Chill authors was a thrill for me. Let me tell you, these ladies had to be tired, but they were beyond nice to me and the remaining stragglers. I arrived fifteen minutes after the signing officially ended (sometimes life puts little road bumps in your way), but I persevered. And I was rewarded. They were still signing, chatting, standing for pictures, and they were all smiles the entire time.
    Fangirl! Through and through! I have followed these ladies via social media for a long time. Now I can associate actual, touchable humans to the pictures on twitter, websites, and blogs. I was on a writer's high. Respect ladies, respect.
    I've finished writing my first book. Three times. My husband keeps asking me how many more revisions it will take. Then he follows up by commenting that you can over-revise. Yeah, I know, but I really don't think I'm even close to the point of over-revision. My critique group looked things over. I've had friends read it. Friends of friends have even read it. Actual real-life teens read it too. Everyone liked it. Everyone but the people who count – count as far as getting my foot in the publishing door.
    Talk about frustrating! If the buying public likes it, why don't the agents? The difference is "like" versus "love". It's good enough, but in this tough market, it's not great enough. Yet. I finally get it though. I understand what separates the goods from the greats. Yes I think my book is as good as a lot of what is sitting on the book store shelves. But maybe that's just it. They are sitting on the shelves and not moving off of those shelves.
    What changed for me? A stroke of luck and maybe some good old-fashioned, friendly chit-chat. An editor, yes an editor from an actual publishing house, took the time to read my first five pages and show me where it needed work. Then she said to study the great writers. I did. Wow, did I ever. I've been pouring over books. Inhaling them. A friend recently asked how many books I've read during my spree. She didn't believe me when I said I average a book every day and a half. If all I did was read, I'd swallow almost two books a day depending on their size, but I do have adult/parental/marital responsibilities so I can't devote an entire day to reading.
    I've compared boy/first POV to girl/first POV to boy/third POV to girl/third POV. I've looked into the effectiveness of third limited to multiple POV's. Within these POV's is passive action versus physical action. I've compared them all. Was this avenue effective? Why? Or would this other method have been better? I took notes. Furiously, copiously, I took notes and I studied my notes.
    I get it now. I know what I need to do. In fact at this point, I feel completely qualified to teach on these subjects. The question is, the real issue at heart is, can I put what I've learned into action? Can I step up and  pull this off or have I set my bar too high? After all, great players don't translate into great coaches and the best coaches probably weren't the best players. Right here, right now, I want to be a great player.
    It's easy for me to become disenchanted with the general public and their perception of life when I look out at the masses and see tons of fat which translates into unhealthy people. There are many ways I can take the negative, but today I'm going to focus on the positive. Positive? What's positive about being overweight?
    I consistently see non-obese people exercising through-out the year. With the coming of warmer weather, people tend to get out more, but what I've noticed this past month is an incredible increase in larger people getting out. I've seen these people walking, jogging, and cycling.
    I'm embarrassed to say it, but there was a time in my life, in my youthful ignorance, that I would think, “She needs to exercise a little more often” or some such callus remark. Now I find myself saying, “Good for him for getting out and moving.” It's all about perspective isn't it?
    Positive perspective. In fact, I'm using these people to inspire me to get back into exercising with consistency. I've always been active, but these past couple of years have seen me become more and more sedentary. I'm not liking how I feel, so more movement is in my future. That said, movement doesn't have to mean training for a marathon. Yoga anyone?

    The diversity tour is rolling. The kick-off was Saturday, May 7, 2011 at the San Francisco Public Library. Follow the tour via twitter by following @cindypon and @malindalo. Visit the Diversity website at
    Tonight, Monday, May 9, the Diversity tour lands in
 BookPeople, 603 N. Lamar, 
Austin TX 78703, at 7:30 p.m. If you're lucky enough to be near Austin, drop in and say hello to authors Bethany Hegedus, Malinda Lo, Guadalupe Garcia McCall, Cindy Pon, Dia Reeves, Jo Whittemore, and moderator/author Varian Johnson.
    The tour continues as listed (and lifted from their website)
    Chicago, Illinois
Tuesday, May 10 from 5:30 to 6:45 p.m.Barbara’s Bookstore
1218 South Halsted Street
Chicago, IL 60607, with authors Malinda Lo, Claudia Guadalupe Martinez, Nnedi Okorafor, and Cindy Pon
    Cambridge, Massachusetts
Thursday, May 12 at 7 p.m.Cambridge Public Library (Main Library)
Lecture Hall
449 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02138, with authors Holly Black, Sarah Rees Brennan, Deva Fagan, Malinda Lo, Cindy Pon, and Francisco X. Stork, and moderated by Roger Sutton. Books available for sale from Porter Square Books.
    New York, New York
    Friday, May 13 at 6:30 p.m.The Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual & Transgender Community Center
208 West 13th Street
New York, NY 10011, highlighting LGBT YA books with authors Cris Beam, David Levithan, Malinda Lo, and Jacqueline Woodson. Books available for sale from Mobile Libris.
    Saturday, May 14 at 1 p.m.Books of Wonder
18 West 18th Street
New York, NY 10011, with authors Matt de la Peña, Malinda Lo, Kekla Magoon, Neesha Meminger, Cindy Pon, Olugbemisola Rhuday-Perkovich, Rita Williams-Garcia, and Jacqueline Woodson, and moderated by Cheryl Klein

I came across Mindi Rench's blog, Next Best Book. She talks about just finishing a re-reading of Laurie Halsey Anderson's Speak. Mindi does a great job summarizing the fantabulous Speak, which was originally published in 1999. Yes me loves, it has been teaching us since 1999 and continues to be challenged by censors. Can you believe it? I have to believe the people who challenge these great books are merely ignorant. At least ignorance is curable. also gives us a quick history of the Speak Loudly campaign, which I highly recommend joining. Speak Loudly speaks out against censorship. Books like Speak need to get into the hands of teens.

Which brings me to this next must-visit website: poke around there for a bit and see what is going on in censorship land and what you can do to help stop sensless censorship.

Many YA book review blogs hold giveaways. Melissa Monovani is no different except that her giveaway is open to international participants. Wonder on over to and see what Melissa is doing.

Janice Hardy has an informative piece on what happens after you sell your novel AND it's part deux, which means there is more fab reading in part one. Pay up on your parking meter and stay awhile. Her site if full of information about the real publishing biz.

Friends, it's time for me to move my book buggy on down the road. Hope you are able to drive a smooth and interesting path using the directions I've left for you.