authorgraph

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

DEAR INDULGED, CONFLICTED MAINSTREAM READING AUDIENCE


I don’t know how to say this. I have learned to pull back on my blunt Sagittarian manner. Just a tad, mind you as I am not in the business of muzzling myself to make folk comfy.  If one wants to dull the sting of life, my dear departed grandfather used to say: “What other people think of you is none of your business.” So if one knows one is that sensitive, one should not ask others their opinion about their person. Me? I say, “Like it counts?”  

As I have said before, I do not get into debates on Facebook or Twitter or any of those anything-but-social outlets. Oh I do monitor them to gauge the level of shiggety that passes for intelligent discourse. Especially in matters pertaining to the romance writing business. There is the never-ending fight for authors of color in romance to get their stories heard, seen and respected by the industry. By “mainstream” authors and truly by “mainstream” readers by trying to impress upon them that they should actually PAY for AOCs’ work as opposed to searching that book the reader wants to read but won’t anti up for. You know. The shoppers dining at the table of the “book sharing” services where “multicultural” or “IR” bundles are offered like bunches of broccoli to the curious but cheap reader. Phew! That was a long sentence. But I’m not done. Yes, “bundles” offered like produce to the “curious” who want that material because it’s a break from reading about “Lady Gwyneth” or “Duke Oberon” BUT they think PAYING for it is so, so, so…beneath them. Because they want to see what “multicultural” is like when written by a real person of color instead of the imposters, but the readers do not want to shell out for it. A number of these readers save their money to BUY what they call REAL stories from their tried-and-true REAL writers who are the ones BORING them to pieces with that 500th book set in a salon. But to have that ennui assuaged, these same readers WLL NOT PAY for it, and most importantly DO NOT THINK the books that could lift them out of that ennui are worth PAYING for. Well, guess what? I AIN’T HERE FOR THAT!

There is a second part to this nonsense. But isn’t it always? On a Facebook account of an AOC (author of color) I monitor, I have seen readers, and I know they are “mainstream” readers leaving this particular CLUELESS comment regularly. The readers want her to “cut out her references to racial conflict in her books because we are all one race and should all be colorblind.” Oh, and it “offends them.” Deliver me from the Colorblind Contingent! Oh, and before I forget. They want her to NOT DESCRIBE the non-White heroine so much.

Well bless us everyone. What cojones!

You cannot have a TRUE heroine of color without the color. Ya can't have it both ways. Just sayin.'

I was, am, speechless. Who do these folk believe they are? Sorry. All I can picture are chicks, living in gated communities or culs-de-sac, who are used to having their way, and being the center of the Universe. I mean how dare anyone not flaxen of hair or blue of eye be thought beautiful! I’m quite sure the chicks think diversity is when they get the van-choc swirl on one cone at the local Dairy Queen. Anyway, the author, who’d been the recipient of the comments said, “Thanks.” She also said she intended to ramp up the level of conflict, and description, a lot more so said readers would never pick up one of her books again. LOL. LOL. LOL.

I recount this because these objections are ludicrous. Especially when you have authors penning “plantation romances” and “concentration camp romances” where the enslaved or internees ADORE their captors. Complain about that ratchet ish! ROMANCES where the authors defend their work by saying, “it’s the times! Every situation is different. It could have happened!” Oh man. I guess it does exist in… alternate history? Unreal history? Re-written history to spin a pretty story where LOVE conquers all? A pretty story where the “mainstream” reader can feel good about how well the author glossed over, or made palatable, the horror of an aspect of a real people’s real history?  Well, guess what? I AIN’T HERE FOR THAT!

What is with this revisionist history when it comes to writing a historical with a cast including non-White characters? Are these authors too chicken to show that Duke Such-and-Such gets his money from the sweat of slaves working his sugar cane plantation in the West Indies? Look, the sugar for all that tea everybody is swilling in those salons comes with a hefty price. I mean the fact that a number of romance authors keep rehashing the Regency and never mention the folk who live beyond the ton is beyond me. You want something different? Find an author NOT writing about how “dreadfully awful it is that spinster Eleanor can't make a decent pot of tea and is too homely to get a man.” Oh wait. I guess the recent improvement on that type of historical is the “new” type of historical out now. The type where the alleged spinster dons a corset, high-heeled boots, frilly black stockings and brandishes a red riding crop while serving tea to the man she wants? Even with the watered-own BDSM angle, it’s still the same story. Same scenery. Same titled people. Same, same, same.

Well, this writer is here to warn you. I’ve written another historical. With Black folk. It will be out around Thanksgiving. The heroine is African. She is NOT a slave or a concubine or a princess. She is an aristocrat though. And guess what? SHE LOVES HERSELF! NO SELF-HATRED TO BE FOUND! Quelle horreur! It’s set in 16th century France. Cultures collide in it and there WILL BE racial conflict. It is impossible to pen a historical anything with black characters and not have racial conflict. Get real, people. Why omit or lie about it? They, we, were not welcome most places and folks let them, us, know it. And, fair warning! My heroine will be lovingly described in all her dark beauty just like all the pale beauties are in the other books.

Trust and believe.

I write SciFi romance and I write historical romance with all the colors in the crayon box and with all the heartache humanity inflicts upon one another. But not for the titillation factor!

You want a tale tied only in a pretty bow? Look elsewhere. It’s not my job to make you feel comfortable. You want a damned good story that just might rub you the wrong way? You're in the right place.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

POWER returns!

Tonight another of my guilty pleasures returns to TV for another season. POWER on Starz is back! The gorgeous Omari Hardwick helms the tale of ex-drug dealer (really?) James "Ghost" St. Patrick, turned night club owner who wants to stay out of the drug trade. BUT like all roads to Hell paved with good intentions, he will get sidetracked. Can we say Michael Corleone?

This gem, produced by 50 Cent (Curtis Jackson), is what "EMPIRE" can't be on FOX. No matter. I love them both for what they are. Vehicles for Black talent and collaboration with others.

Tune in tonight to POWER on Starz at 9E/P. The episode is called "Ghost must die."

Somehow, I don't think so.

Thursday, July 14, 2016

STILL STAR CROSSED - Another show with a black, female main character. Will she be given the shaft like Abby Mills of "Sleepy Hollow?"

Appears Miz Shonda is doin' it again. Her newest offering on ABC TV will be a series called Still Star Crossed. Adapted from the book of the same name, it is being touted as a re-do of  Romeo and Juliet with a black heroine. Should have the purists sweatin,' and folks who haven't cracked a book in years, reading. Don't know all the specifics. All I can ask is, please don't let this be dysfunctional Fitz, Jake and Liv in old clothes.

It's set for Fall on ABC



Tuesday, July 12, 2016

There I go stirring up ish again

YO. YO. YO. That's heads up in Philly Speak. Not "I" in Spanish. Anyhoo, now that I have your attention, go read my highlighted appearance in Heather Massery's post on the Heroes and Heartbreakers website. It's part of a loooonger interview to be seen in issue 12 of the SciFi Romance Quarterly later this summer.

This short version is a snippet of the hard truth folk in the industry do not like to face. Not me, I was raised to face my fears and own my shyte. So, if you ain't the scares-easily, sensitive type, read this article and then wait for the OTHER big shoe to drop in the full interview later this fall

Sunday, July 10, 2016

BOW DOWN TO THE QUEEN. AGAIN!


Photo:


THE QUEEN HAS DONE IT AGAIN! AND AS USUAL, THE MEDIA YAWNED. SHAME ON YOU PEOPLE. THIS WOMAN IS A ONE-OF-A-KIND, ONCE-IN-A-LIFETIME, GRADE A, FIRST CLASS ATHLETE AND YOU DISRESPECT HER EVERY FREAKIN' TIME SHE SHOWS YOU! And tell me how there is NO BIAS in reporting the news.

Yeah. And on that note, pst! pst! I gotta a slightly-used bridge to sell ya...

Thursday, July 7, 2016

For your listening pleasure...

Two of the smoothest crooners have new music out. Finally. I have waited soooooooo long for MAXWELL to put out another album (ALBUM? Oh well. That dates me but so what? In 20 years, another generation will laugh at STREAMING). Anyhoo, his newest, blackSUMMERS’night was worth the wait. It was released (dropped?) July 1st. Gorgeous summer music from a gorgeous man with a gorgeous soul. Loved him since “URBAN HANG SUITE.” AAAh!

The next one is WILL DOWNING. On par with the late LUTHER VANDROSS. But seriously, it’s not fair to Mr. Downing. He has his own style and sound. Silky, dreamy, smooth. Like a Werther’s caramel. His latest comes Friday July 8th and is titled BLACK PEARLS. It’s tribute to black female R-n-B singers that he admires. Some selections include covers of songs sung by Deniece Williams, Angela Winbush, Brenda Russell, Phyllis Hyman, etc. I’m in. I heard his take on Ms. Hyman’s “MEET ME ON THE MOON’ and I’m smitten. Anyone who knows me, knows I adored that  lady’s voice and he does the song justice.

So, if you are looking for some smooth sounds for summer or just love “OLD SCHOOL” style, give these offerings a try.


Monday, June 27, 2016

P-FUNK minus one!

P-FUNK FOREVER! Bernie Worrell, fabulous Funkateer , colorful keyboardist and founding member of the legendary PARLIAMENT FUNKADELIC made transition this past Friday at the age of 72. Another great gone on to rest. He was originally in an old do-wop band. You know the kind back in the day with the slicked-back hair. The Julliard-trained musician was a master of all keyboards and when he came to the Mothership, he lit it up with George and Bootsie. Once asked what he thought of today’s rappers and hip-hop artists, and how they sampled his music, he said he liked them and didn’t mind them sampling. The main thing that worried the classically-trained musician was that the artists today DO NOT KNOW HOW TO READ MUSIC! It bothered him that that DID NOT KNOW CHORDS AND PROGRESSIONS AND SUCH. Plain fact? They did not know how to create music from scratch. And he wished to his dying day that they would learn. My take? He thought they should learn their craft or they be doomed to “sample” until their careers petered out.

His training sustained him for 50 years. So, it goes without saying that he knew his craft and was still making music on tour with the “Masters of Funk.” His last film appearance was in "Ricky and the Flash' with Meryl Streep.


I hope a “Flashlight” led the way home for you. Rest in power, Bernie.