Tuesday, May 24, 2011

I Couldn't Put It Down
'Girl In Translation' by Jean Kwok

I have two words to describe Jean Kwok's "Girl in Translation" -- Fly Read.  This is such a good book for not just adults but teens as well. If you like heartfelt, honest stories of survival and mother-daughter relationships, girl you need to pick this one up.  I know you're wondering what the story is about. Read my review for the BlogHer Book Club here to find out.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

FemTech: Alicia 'Kat' Dillman Blends Romance, Art and Technology for Her New Book

Entrepreneur, artist, techie and  writer
Alicia Dillman poses with
 an image from her novel.
Photo Credit: Michael Pleasent
Alicia “Kat” Dillman of KatGirl Studio describes herself as a “Do It Yourself” kind of girl. That’s my kind of girl. We met at WonderCon this year. Alicia is a freelance illustrator for children’s book covers, proficient with computer coding and has her eyes set on taking her art and tech skills to video gaming. But for now she’s pushing her book Daemons in the Mist. I haven't read the novel, but  the cover looks juicy, dramatic, and romantic. Alicia said the book is a young adult paranormal romance that is “spicier” Twilight. “Daemons is a word that existed pre-Hellenistic Greece. Their world exists within ours in a spectrum we can’t see,” said Alicia.  The story takes place in San Francisco where a teen named Patrick gets sucked in the paranormal world of a beautiful girl named Nualla.

The image of a woman doesn't usually come to mind when discussing technology. An engineer I spoke with at another event told me she mentors girls and they find computer technology boring. The mentor thinks the girls don't see a way to put their own stamp and identity into technology.  Alicia is an example of how you can combine feminine interests with technology. I asked her a few more questions about her craft. Aspiring writers and entrepreneurs should take note because the publishing and book marketing game has changed.

You have a trailer for your book. I’ve noticed authors are doing this now.
There are a lot of companies that offer either limited or zero-cost technology that allows you to be able to do it yourself or hire someone to do it for you. I made it myself using a software called Animoto. They take your images and your text and they time with a mathematic algorithm to the music that you select so that it looks like a movie trailer. It took me a day.

Are you self-published?
I am a partner in a publishing company. We’re going to be publishing a few other books. We’re partnered with a game company called CWS Software and they make kinetic visual novels which are popular in Japan but not really here yet. The only one I know of that’s an English one would be the Phoenix Wright for the Nintendo DS. It’s kind of like our old Indiana Jones games that we had back in the ‘90s, that kind of choose your own adventure [game]. This one is a singular storyline. My other books have more branching and video games.
I did the art and the writing. I do all of the printing and matting. I do everything.



CocoaFly interviewing Alicia Dillman at
WonderCon 2011 in San Francisco.
Photo Credit: Michael Pleasent

When you say drawing do you mean on the computer or with pencils and paper?

I used to do it on paper but I switched to 100 percent digital because it’s much better for the environment and a lot faster for my clients. I’m a freelance illustrator so the faster I can get things to people the better.

Go to Alicia's website to see the process of how she makes her work.


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

'Switch It Up' Workshop at the Delta Sigma Theta Women's Empowerment Conference in Vallejo, CA

My Saturday was filled with inspiration.  The Delta Sigma Theta Vallejo, Calif.  Alumane Chapter hosted their 23rd Women's Empowerment Conference. The event was free and open to the entire community. For those wondering about my outfit,  yes I wore my Sigma Gamma Rho blue and gold (*smile*).  I presented my "Switch It Up to Live It Up" workshop, which I based on a series I launched on CocoaFly.com a few years ago. The workshop is about women switching up their thinking of themselves and how society defines them to live their own life. I talked about changing my own thinking, reinventing myself to thrive in this tough economy and shutting out negative definitions society has tried to impose on me as a woman and person of color.  I even used some of my favorite quotes from Maya Angelou and Bon Jovi to plant empowerment seeds in the attendees. I sure did. I enjoyed this and if anyone is interested in booking me for this talk, contact me.

 I met so many dynamic women of all ages in numerous professions. The conference was more than an event, but a space for women to connect and bond. Women openly shared their stories of surviving abusive relationships and war-torn countries, overcoming illness, life after divorce,  their secrets to success, healthy eating and I could go on. New friends were making plans to attend Chicago Step classes and entrepreneurs swapped business cards. You know I loved it.  I sat on a morning panel and presented my workshop in the afternoon. During the panel I shared the importance of saying "NO" when you're feeling overwhelmed with duties and someone asks for "a favor." I learned this early. NO, NO, NO. But on the flip side, literally, when someone tells you no, and you need a yes, invert the word. What's "no" spelled backwards? ON. When you hear "no," think "Okay it's ON and I'm going to shoot for the stars." I'm telling you, these ideas got me through this economy.  Women told me I inspired them and I learned valuable life lessons from the 150+ attendees.  Barbara Walden, owner of Barbara Walden Cosmetics made 80 look like 40 when she spoke on stage. She proves that age is in the mind.

Thank you to the ladies of Delta Sigma Theta's Vallejo Alumnae Chapter. I had a great time.  A very special sister-soror thank you to Valerie Gray, the event's chair. I'm sure she's getting much needed rest that she'll need for next year.

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