By fracaswell

It’s Been a While…

55CB52AD-E7F5-4E21-A2AA-9ED3F39219B0Has it really been a couple of years since I’ve updated my website? That’s unacceptable and I promise to do better from now on. There really is no excuse, except I’ve been extremely, luckily, joyfully and gratefully BUSY!!! (I’ll fill you in on all that in the next post!)

First things first, as you can see, a new Mango Delight story, SUMMER IN THE CITY,  is slated to be in bookstores on March 3rd, 2020! I’m excited about this story. Mango leaves the confines of middle school and heads to New York City to star in an off-off-off-off broadway production of Yo, Romeo! Not to worry, her friends; Izzy, TJ and Hailey Joanne are still a part of the adventure, but she also gets to meet new friends and foes along the way.

When I first presented the idea for this story to my publisher, I got a little push back. They felt readers would want Mango to stay in her familiar school environment where they first met her. I don’t believe that is true. To my mind, if you truly like a character, you will follow her/him wherever they go. I know I would. Mango Delight was always intended to follow a young girl on the road to fulfilling her show business dreams, while giving readers a glimpse of the hard work and pit falls that come when you set out to become a star. Thankfully, my editor at the time aided me in convincing the publishers to let me take Mango (and the readers) out of her comfort zone so she could test her wings and fly.

SUMMER IN THE CITY is book two of three Mango Delight stories. At this point, as the finished book is in the hands of the printers, I’m daydreaming, jotting down notes, filtering ideas, relaxing and tuning in to Mango’s heart, mind and desires. These are the steps I take while plotting her next adventure. It’s a fertile, vibrant and sometimes frustrating process, but ultimately rewarding.

I hope you enjoy SUMMER IN THE CITY. Write to me. Let me know what you think of the new book and what you’ve been up to. I love hearing from you and respond to every query.



African American Cultural Celebration 2018

A6178228-6620-4D5E-9FAA-5AF86F65EAC1.jpegI was honored to be invited to participate in the 17th Annual African American Cultural Celebration in Raliegh, NC. It was held at the North Carolina Museum of History. What a great event it turned out to be. There were crowds of people everywhere, music, exhibits, panel discussions, food, it was incredible!

I was a part of the LITERATURE and the SPOKEN WORD celebration. I did a PowerPoint presentation in the Demonstration Gallery, (a lovely, intimate space) from 1-1:30 pm. Kelly Starlings Lyons was my contact person and she and her team did an exquisite job of making my daughter and myself feel comfortable and welcome.

I really enjoy presenting to different groups. I created a PowerPoint just for the occasion and its a lot of fun for me to get up and start running my mouth. But the bottom line, the intention that I meditate on throughout the day, is to inspire, empower and encourage my audiences to cherish their creativity and never give up on their dreams. If I can do the things that I’ve done in life, so can they. Its just a matter of sticking to your goals, not stopping yourself if you mess up, learn from it and keep it moving!

People in the audience purchased quite a few copies of MANGO DELIGHT. This made me happy. The best part was signing books and getting to look people in the eye and tell them how much I appreciate their support. There was one family from Turkey that recently immigrated to the U.S. The dad, mom and three daughters were exceptionally charming, and I was heartened that they chose to read my book as a way of learning about a young girl’s life in America. Fantastic! Makes it all worthwhile!

As you can see from the picture above, my dad, stepmother and my daughter were with me and it was nice to have them see me do my thing for the very first time. I hope to do more of these presentations around the country…around the world even!

On The Radio…

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On Thursday 11/9/2017, I had the pleasure of sitting down for an interview with WHQR’s News Director, Rachel Lewis Hilburn. I was scheduled to be on the air for one hour, minus commercials and news updates. This was a bit daunting at first, but the folks at the radio station were so kind, warm and welcoming that I quickly relaxed and had a really nice time. I realized, What’s so hard about answering questions about yourself for 49 minutes? LOL.

The great thing is we sold more copies of MANGO DELIGHT and I actually got to meet one of the people that called in to the radio station, Jim Downey, and autograph his copies of the Mango that he bought as gifts. Jim is a Wilmington, NC local who specializes in creating beautiful sea turtles out of glass. He was kind enough to bring my daughter a gift of one of his sea turtle glass necklaces.

All in all, this was a wonderful experience and if you’d care to listen to the interview, here is a link:

Best to you all and #holdontoyourmagic!




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MANGO DELIGHT’S publishing birthday was June 6th, 2017. Since then I’ve been introduced to the hardest part of being an author. Promotion! You’ve got to get out there and find ways to sell, sell, sell! Because what is the point of writing a book if no one reads it. The last thing you want is for your beautiful book to sit on a shelf collecting dust until it is sent back to the publisher or dumped in the $1 book bin.

So, for the last few months, I’ve been doing everything I can think of to get more eyes on MANGO DELIGHT. My publishing company set me up with several, what they call, “Mommy Blogs.” These are websites that supposedly attract a lot of moms looking for interesting things for their kids to read. Cool! Each blog had a different theme they wanted me to write about.

The Kick Butt Kid Lit Blog, by author, Casey Lyall, was fun. She sent a list of questions like; Where did you get the idea to write Mango Delight? Where were you when you found out Mango Delight was picked up by a publisher? That was a fun blog to write, because Casey seems like a really cool beans person and her books, HOWARD WALLACE, P.I. and the follow up, SHADOW OF A PUG, are very funny and worth the read! She writes them in a sort of hardball, gumshoe lingo, like Humphrey Bogart/Sam Spade detective movies. Really fun. You can catch up with Casey on Twitter @CKlyall.

The Unleashing Readers Blog wanted a essay on the topic of my choice. I think this blog was mostly for teachers. So, I wrote a post entitled, “Using Your Personal Real Estate To Create Characters, Setting and Conflict.” By “Personal Real Estate” I meant your experiences, things that happened to you in your life. Everything that has ever happened to you in your life, good, bad, horrific, funny, embarrassing, humiliating, enlightening, all of these things belong to you and no one else. As a writer, they are a gold mine, a treasure that you can cash in and spend any way you like. Yes, I think it’s a pretty good essay, if I do say so myself. Google the blog and check it out if you get the chance. …maybe I should just post these blogs here…hmmm. Thinking about it.

Another part of the #authorlife, is school visits. [See the slideshow above.] I had a few set up for me in South Carolina. I live in North Carolina, so the drives were not more than 3-4 hours. I did two days at Dutch Fork High School in Irmo, SC. At first I was so intimidated. The kids were huge! They drove cars! Walking down the crowded halls trying to find the main office brought back memories of my days in High School…and not the good ones.

My faculty hosts were very nice. I had prepared a PowerPoint presentation to talk about my career path, what it takes to be a writer and how to write a novel. I had 7 45 minute classes two days in a row. I tell you, I don’t know how teachers do it. BUT, it turns out I had nothing to fear. The students were great, and as the day went on, I found my groove and felt comfortable enough to joke with them, really talk to them and get them to talk to me. Both days were exhausting, but a great experience.

The third day of this trip, I was at Herbert A. Wood Elementary. This school presented a whole new problem. In the morning, I had 10-12 minutes with four fifth grade classes. In the hotel, I was worried. What was I supposed to do? How was I supposed to make any kind of impact on these kids in 10-12 minutes. I got an idea in the shower. (This happens often. I think it might have something to do with the warm water streaming down your body…anyway.)  Once I decided what I wanted my core take-a-way message to be, I made up a chant/rap to teach to each group. It went something like this:

I read, I read

‘cause that’s what I need

To learn to write, to write

And shine so bright!

This went over great with the kids and the teachers. It was a lot of fun. The sessions were very high energy and the kids were bursting with questions. In the afternoon, I had 30 minutes with two fourth grade classes, so I got to slow down and use more of my PowerPoint presentation. These kids were great and I taught them the chant, too.

Tired and wasted, I got in my car and headed home. About a half hour into my four hour drive, I got very sleepy. So, I pulled over to a gas station/store and bought my very first, sugar-free Red Bull. Let me tell you, those things work! I was anxious to get back home to my family and I made it safe and awake…or “woke” as they say now…stay woke!

The least fun, but necessary part of #authorlife is book signings. The people at Barnes & Noble set up a couple for me. One in Wilmington, NC where I live and one in Buffalo, New York. The thing about book signings is…the set you up at a table with a display of your books, and you stand or sit, smiling at customers as they walk by. Some stop and look at the book, some just smile, some have a conversation with you and if you are on your game, you get them to actually buy a book which you can then personally autograph to them. The feeling is quite humbling, especially when you’re basically an unknown entity. Maybe one day, I’ll reach John Grisham-like popularity, then I may grow to love signings. Thankfully, they only last about two hours and then you are free to flee!

Well, that’s enough about that. I’ve got a lot more stories from the road and this #authorlife journey, but I’ll save them for next time. I promise I won’t take so long to write a new post. Actually…I think I will post some of the Mommy Blogs here so they’re easier to find. Or at the very least, I’ll post the links.

In the mean time, let me hear from you! Make this #authorlife a little less lonely.



The Books Arrive!

I’ve had some lovely firsts in my career. I can remember the first time I appeared onstage in a high school production of “The Apple Tree.” (Actually, I don’t really remember that one all that well…so long ago.)

I do remember the first time I saw my name on television as the creator of “The Famous Jett Jackson.” I was alone in my home in Los Angeles when the show premiered on The Disney Channel. It was excited to see “Created by Fracaswell Hyman” on TV for the first time. I hyperventilated a bit and had to go sit outside to catch my breath.  But the other day I had just as big a thrill with the arrival of 20 copies of MANGO DELIGHT dropped on my porch by UPS.

IMG_9324If it weren’t for the barking of our Schnoodle, Makayla, the box may have sat on the front porch for a couple of days. We usually enter and exit the house through the garage. Anyway, opening the box and seeing all the books, smelling all the books, picking up and flipping through the pages of the books, it was all another milestone that I will never forget.

I’m filled with gratitude and actually astounded that this character that appeared to me one morning in the midst of waking up is now a real book. I can’t wait for people to read it. And when you do, please drop me a line and let me know what you think, and what kind of adventures you’d like to see Mango experience next time.



Writing For My Life


I never dreamed of becoming a writer. Growing up, my dreams centered on being one of the people I watched on television, in the movies, or onstage when I was old enough to take myself to Broadway shows. I started acting in high school. I took classes at the HB Studio in Greenwich Village and auditioned and was accepted to The Negro Ensemble Company training program when I was just a high school kid. No, writing was never meant to be a way of life for me, but how often do we wind up doing what we set out to do career wise?