Hi! HI! HIIII!!!!
I’m excited! Can you tell? I am so thrilled to share something I’ve been working on – or spent months not working on, if I’m honest – recently. I’m not entirely sure what to call the final product, so I’m calling it an InterWebz Audio Storybook (or IWAS) until one of you very brilliant readers can categorize it correctly for me.
There’s been a lot of talk in the news but very little “news” on the airwaves, if you catch my drift. I turn on the TV and I can nearly predict what’s going to be said. It’s Donald Trump and Hillary, Donald Trump and Hillary and then some neon-green eyed former rapper who refers to himself as a ‘trick’ while admonishing hoes of a particular race to “tighten up” before Spanish and white women obsolete skeets himself into the news-cycle to break the monotony before it goes back Donald and Hillary. (If this lattermost story flew over your radar, don’t widen your signal net to try to catch it. It’s not going to edify you in the least. No…trust me. Don’t. Do. It.)
I took advantage of the lull in interesting current events to work on a project I had tabled in early 2016. The beginning of the year was hectic as we were focusing on final exams, projects, field trips and an international move…all excuses I pointed to as evidence that I was way too busy and good reason for my delayed work on the IWAS. The truth was that I was afraid of screwing up. This week, I decided to overcome my fear and just give the IWAS a try. How was I going to fail if I didn’t even try? So after all those mental gymnastics, here it is! My first IWAS: Lye Rolls Catcha Mellows.
Lye Rolls Catcha Mellows was a story I wrote and submitted to Lee & Low Books’ New Voices Award in 2015. I didn’t enter the competition with the intention of winning. (Which might be why I never win at these sorts of things.) Like the Golden Baobab Award which pushed me to finish Sally & the Butterfly on schedule, the New Voices Award served as my motivator to write about a character I don’t often feature in my writing: a little Black boy. All of my fiction has been very female focused and driven, so to give voice to a boy felt foreign, but comfortable.
I wrote Close to Home while simultaneously writing Lye Rolls, and while I always knew that Carlos’ story was going to be presented in print, I wasn’t sure how I would introduce the Nameless Boy and his Grandfather to the world. I knew I wanted something audible because the title is so unique and because I knew the one question I knew I would frequently get if it was put to print first would be “Huh? How do you pronounce this thing?” Long story shortened, the IWAB proved to be the way forward.
For a first attempt, I’m pretty pleased with the result. There are some bloopers that I’m very much aware of and after doing x number of takes, this one was the better of the lot that I decided to go forward with. Keen listeners will hear me say “metcha mellows” at one point and “boys” instead of “boy”. I’m not rerecording it sha. Ayam tiyed! The gbaa police can issue their tickets in the comments section if they like. Ha! Despite the two hiccups, I’m really, really happy. And I have a brand new appreciation and respect for filmmakers and animators. You deserve every coin you earn and you guys that work behind the scenes without the glory really deserve more shine. MAGIX sees your sacrifice, even if no one else does.
Without further ado, I give you the one, the only IWAS: Lye Rolls Catcha Mellows!
What do you think? Do you have questions? Do you need a narrator? I’m available for hire. 😉
*If you are new to writing and/or illustrating and are looking for publishing opportunities, check out the details on Lee & Low Books’ annual awards competition here. May the odds be in your favor!