a blog/forum from the desk of author, P. J. Dean, primarily for promoting her latest releases, for discussing romance writing and that curious niche christened "multicultural." Tea will be sipped and occasionally spilled about the irrational, racial and religious WTFery that goes on in the industry. Related "multicultural" stateside doings will be highlighted too.
The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is a Smithsonian Institution museum established in 2003. The museum's building, designed by David Adjaye, is on the National Mall in Washington, D.C.. Early efforts to establish a federally owned museum featuring African American history and culture can be traced to 1915, although the modern push for such an organization did not begin until the 1970s. After years of little success, a much more serious legislative push began in 1988 that led to authorization of the museum in 2003. A site was selected in 2006, and a museum design approved in 2009. President Barack Obama helped break ground for the building on February 22, 2012. First concrete was poured in November 2012, and construction was to be complete in April 2016.
FOX’s EMPIRE returns to the airwaves tonight! When last we
peeped la famille Lyon, Luscious had to marry his pregnant ex-fiancee, Boo Boo
Kitty (the baby belongs to his youngest son!) for legal and face-saving reasons
pertaining to his record empire. These two have long been finished and this was
a formality. A formality which visibly broke mamma Cookie’s heart as she still
loves Big L. And she had to witness the wedding. AND, AND after Rhonda, the
wife of Luscious’ eldest son miscarried via ugly tumble down a staircase last
season, she has been having flashbacks to the incident and realizes it was no
accident. She came to the knowledge at the makeshift wedding that the person
who had befriended her in her time of need was the culprit! Cue organ music.
The culprit? None other than BOO BOO KITTY! Seems old Boo was bummed out that
Big L had kicked her to the curb when Cookie got out of prison, and for double
crossing him by doing his son. This woman wanted to be in that family so bad
she would have given the sexually-fluid son a go if she had not succeeded with
the sexual irresponsible one first. She wanted the name and the money and to be
the one popping out the next pride of Lyons. She did not want anyone and their
kid in her spotlight, and didn’t care how she went about pushing them out of it.
at the end of the last episode of last season, “woke” Rhonda confronts Boo Boo,
after the ceremony, when they are all alone, out on the high walkway above a
concrete surface. OF ALL PLACES! They get into a Krystal-and-Alexis-style
fight, tussling like MMA contenders. Rhonda’s yelling that she knows what Boo Boo
did and how she is gonna make her pay. It’s been bad for both. Rhonda has been
through hell with her bipolar husband, who almost went off the deep end when
they lost their baby. Boo Boo is just plain desperation morphed into psychosis
bordering on homicidal. Who will live? Who will die? Will the baby survive? And
where the hell are the rest of the Lyons while this mess is going down? All I
do know is, nobody better call me at 9pm and I gotta go get some popcorn for
tonight. Fox's EMPIRE 9pm in the States.
These are my musings and I take responsibility for them.
The romance books out now skew heavily toward
contemporaries. Characters are concentrated in the world of WTF as far as I can
see. Look, I know romance is about the fantasy, the possibility of romance
between all kinds, for all kinds, but the premises just keep getting wilder and
weirder. Writers are pushing boundaries to shock readers, make bank and to
outdo each other. The character who is now seen as the “hero” has taken a
one-eighty, or is that a three-sixty? A “hero” today in contemporary romance
could be the violent, “misunderstood” parolee on the block because the writer shows
his true humanity when he takes in a box of abandoned kittens he found in the
alley behind his squat. Or he could be the grating, obnoxious, sexist, corporate-raiding
asshole who gets off on humiliating his employees but who really just needs the
“right” woman/man/both to set his stony heart free. There is also the
murdering, drug-dealing, gun-running motorcycle member who just needs an
understanding "princess" and a home-cooked meal. Preferably not made in the same
kitchen he cooks his meth. Oh and let’s not forget the tattoos and beards and
abs. The list could go on forever. Look, everyone needs to be seen. But I admit
I have not read a contemporary all the way through in 3 years. I can’t take
them. Mix in New Adult to the aforementioned shift, and well, I. Just. Can’t.
Seems folks, yet again, rather read about, and find it credible that the
“outlaw” as a hero (a monosyllabic person with no people skills, questionable
ethics and an eff-everyone-over-before-they-eff-me-over ‘tude) is more appealing
and acceptable and credible than a sexy, black bio-geneticist with an interest
in Tai Chi. Oh, well. I suppose it is an improvement over the reading public finding
vamps, weres and spectres more believable than a sexy, black bio-geneticist
with an interest in Tai Chi. An “outlaw”
is human at least. Well, barely.
Possibly the writers are writing for the newbie readers who
flocked to romance after 50 Shades came
out? I guess people thought romance was all Georgette Heyer and Harlequin. The
industry did note an uptick in overall sales after the E. L. James books/movie
came out. Sex does sell. But it kinda ruins some stuff too. Chiefly when it’s
stuffed (pardon the pun) into a book for no apparent reason. Like a 200 pg book
with 50 pages of sex scenes. Like a scene where a couple are in a public place
where it’s impractical, impossible and implausible to be having sex. Because in
real life, you’d get written up, arrested or a hose turned on you. It sounds sexy on paper but it’s truly skivvy. I had a friend
whose house was on a dead-end street that seemed perfect for impatient lovers. The dead-end was perfect for “parking” out of
the way. And that is what people did. They “parked” in that dead-end on that
street and did everything under the sun in their cars. More times than not,
they parked the cars right up next to my friend’s property so passing cops
couldn’t see them but all my friends had to do was look out their side windows.
That’s not SEXY. Anyhoo, these romantic interludes, drove my friends crazy. The
disgusting debris they had to clean up Sat. and Sun. mornings that had been
tossed by these couples would have gagged a maggot. They finally invested in
motion sensor lights and when they clicked on, my friends used to come out and
turn the hose on the cars. I LOVED IT.
“So why is she telling us this?” you ask. Because someone
needs to get real and put that in one of those unreal contemporaries when an over-heated
couple decides to get busy in public in a private place. How about having the
hero or heroine say “No, Cheap Ass. Take me to a motel.” Revolutionary, right?
Also because in real life, folk don’t want you screwing in their side yard, backyard,
or alley no matter how quiet you are, or how struck you were by the pretty moon that night. Take that mess elsewhere. That’s common sense. That’s my
beef with modern romance books. No common sense. Instead of using the logical
to spin a story, writers go the path that takes me out of the story period with
its silliness and crassness. And I’m not talking paranormal or fantasy.
Now, I cannot say much on the SciFi romance front except to
say, I do write it. The authors I interact with have been penning unbelievably
great work. And they use fantasy but it works in that space. Even the sex slave
planet books and the captive books and the goblin vs. imp books have way more
plot, and make way more sense than a contemporary. I expect the WTF to occur in
these books as they are not about real events. I am proud of my SFR colleagues.
The historical romance. What can I say about the historical
romance? Maybe, it would be easier to speak on what not to say about the
historicals being written. I will say this. OH FRIGGIN’ MY. Well, industrious
authors have found a way to incorporate 50
Shades shenanigans into them to draw new readers. A few are doing it with
thought and wit; others are simply finding another reason for the Duke of
So-and-So to visit the salons of
repressed spinster neighbors, or the rectories of hunky vicars for rough
hanky-panky. Some authors, who are mainstream, have “discovered” that
minorities were living in centuries other than the 21st, Imagine
that. We lived in other times and other people have just found out. In any case, they have been blending minorities
into historicals. Good. But they seem to prefer writing about minority men as
opposed to minority women. Fine with me. I don’t need to read about another “confused
mulattress” who is “pretty in spite of her tainted blood and who has no trace of it
in her person.” Deliver me from good intentions. That path to Hell is already
crowded with them. And the name historical is taken with a shaker of
salt. I read one recently where I only knew it was a Western because the author
mentioned a horse and that the heroine could see the Sherriff’sOffice from
the saloon’s upper window. Let us not
forget the voluminous attire on both figures on the book cover. Big blouse, big
hair, big dress, shirtless? Historical. Sailing
ship, mountains, prairie, river, castle, forest, shirtless?
Historical. Thank goodness for those markers because there is nada historical going on inside those
books. You know what? I shouldn’t have to guess if I’m reading a historical.
I’m picky that way. Call me old-fashioned. I believe that if there is no
history in your historical romance, it ain’t a historical.
Now on to the reviewing of romance books. Heavens, I’ve got
so much to say but I’ll keep it short. First, those who are brave enough to
review…hats off to ya! You are willing to wade in waters I wouldn’t dare to.
But there is an art to it. It’s called tact. Seems it has gotten dicey lately. Reviewers
have been attacked by authors who have been christened as “behaving badly.” This
is really sticky territory. And gets personal and treacherous. Personally, I
see authors as having no say on how their work will be received. I understand
that. We just never know. BUT I have seen reviewers who have missed the boat
entirely when reviewing a book. I feel reviewers need to stick to the subgenre
they know. If you like and review, say, erotica. Stay in that lane. If by chance a
book that is NOT erotica comes your way…bypass it. Okay? Why? Because writers
who DO NOT write erotica do not need your insight on how their book could have
been better with the addition of gynecological sex scenes and dirty talk. Um,
er, people? Let me hip you to something. Not every book has to have ba***s-to-the-wall,
sexy times ad infinitum and the constant repetition of the words “c**k” or c**t
to be entertaining. Stop marking a book LOWER, OR NOT WORTH READING because of
its low c- count. Be fair. The book wasn’t for you. Admit it. Okay? That was note
Note two. And those who follow this blog, or have visited
before can look away now. I’ve touched on this before and will continue to
until it sinks in. Yo, REVIEWERS, with the addition of historicals with
non-white main characters being written by non-white writers, dear reviewers, (and
you know who you are) I’m talking to you, son. Look,
this way now. Stop! I say STOP comparing the characters and the characters’
actions in this outgrowth of the historical to the white characters in the same
type of book. Non-white characters have DIFFERENT histories from white
characters. Their experiences are different. There are no comparisons. So just
STOP it! I’m tired of you cautioning readers about you not being able to vouch
for the history. HELLO! Readers don’t need you to do that. They aren’t 5 year
olds and should not need their hands held. Unless, unless reading a
“multicultural” historical is “scary” to them and you feel it is incumbent upon
you to walk them through. And if that is the case, THE READER needs to put down
the book. BOO! Halloween is upon us.
Anyhoo, your caveat is insulting especially when all kinds of bibliographic
materials are included in the book to enlighten the reader. Again, as with
books that are not erotica, STOP marking historicals with non-white leads,
written by non-white authors, LOWER than “mainstream” historicals because YOU
lack the ability to shove aside internalized stereotypes. Just because YOU
can’t visualize a non-white characters as dippy, reveling in their being
themselves, shrewd, evil, melodramatic or routine as any white character, does
not make it a reason to down grade a book. Those aspects of personality are
universal and make a character human.
Just like those “outlaws” y’all drool over.
Homogeneity in romance. Yes, honey, the force is still
strong with that one. I could go on and on about the plethora of cowboys, Vikings,
MC members, sports teams, MMA fighters, gov’t agents, SEALS and of course
dukes, the majority of whom are white and male. But if I point that out, people
will say I’m too focused on race. Really? Have you really ever looked at the
weekly new releases’ shelf on any given romance book review site? It’s so
homogenized it should be in the dairy section of the supermarket.
Okay. I'm done. or more like spent. What will next quarter bring? Besides my new book? Shameless plug, I know but it's my blog. Really, who knows? I still believe in hope and change. But in the romance business, habits die hard.
I had this record by the Marvelous Marvin Gaye when it came out waaaaay back in '71! It was a CONCEPT album. Meaning? It had a purpose, a theme throughout. The concept to it was a Vietnam Vet returning home to a country he'd fought for that was in turmoil and worse off than when he'd left it. Powerful stuff. I was a very precocious, forward-thinking kid. Anyhoo, it blew my young mind with its view of social issues mixed with searing lyrics and music. It's still so relevant today. There is not a cut on it that does not speak to issues today. So many unbelievable songs on one album. What's Going On; Mercy Mercy Me, Inner City Blues. Marvin had his finger on the pulse of the nation even then. This album morphed him from the "handsome singer of love songs to the "not just another pretty face singer" of music. Period. I see much of the same crap today that I saw in the 70s. Just had better music to address it. Pick up a copy of this groundbreaking record in any format you can. Listen and I dare you not to become "woke."
Just because. I admire them so much. They have been grace under pressure from Day One. I do hope after every contentious session with Congress, he went home and cussed everyone of them out in his mind. And like many African-Americans, my heart was in my throat when they got out of the limo on that first Inauguration Day to greet people. The Divine was guarding them because I'd been sure some cretin wearing a tin-foil hat with membership in The John Birch Society was gonna shoot them. All I could remember saying to myself was, "Get back in the damned car! You got nothing to prove! You won!" And he did. TWICE. I shall miss them like hell when they are gone. Mark my words. He will go down as one of the best to have served in that position. My advice to Barack when the last day in the White House comes? Put your feet up in your new mansion, take a looooog pull on some Jack, say "take that haters" and say "it was a good day." Thank you, Barack and Michelle.
Ever heard of the Fultz Quads? Born in 1946, the first surviving, identical ,African American quads (all girls), were sponsored by Pet Milk but then ended up exploited. first by the doctor who delivered them and then by Pet to basically fill everyone else's coffers but the family's. Lord, that refrain keeps repeating. I needed a shower after reading up on this fiasco.