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Friday, October 26, 2012

Romance Redux

I have always liked romance novels. My very first one was "The Flame and The Flower." But the genre left me wanting more when I didn't see any women of color in the main roles as I continued to buy and read them. When I was in my old 9 to 5 and taking that El train to work, I saw that much of the reading material occupying the female riders was romance. And tons of those readers were women of color. Holding books with covers with Caucasian women with long silky hair and blue eyes.  Heroines that didn't look like them. It didn't matter. Apparently the stories were good enough to make them keep buying them. It made me keep buying 'em. I kept reading and hoping for better representation.

Then I discovered the work of Beverly Jenkins. She wrote of heroines that looked like me. They had dark skin, kinky hair and o-o-o! Just the fact that they were on a published page was enough for me. Little did I know when I went looking for her work that it was classified as "Ethnic" and not mixed in alphabetically with other romances. Bummer! Geesh! Segregation on the shelf. Stories are stories. At least that's what I thought. Those dollars flowing into the till don't get separated according to color. I was sure of that. Anyhoo, after a while I began seeking out other sub genres of romance to see if women of color crossed over into those story lines. Not really. In all those vamp, were, Sci-Fi, paranormal, etc. romances, chicks with more pigment were absent or made small appearances. Until I came upon the works of the late L. A. Banks. She rocked my world. She wrote paranormal like nobody's business. Her characters jumped off the page and I identified with them. No, I do not kill vamps or other creatures. Her Damali was couched in an atmosphere that I knew of and did not have to imagine. Banks created women of color characters who were the focal point of the story and could kick major butt as good as Buffy. These women were also their own worse enemies sometimes, so dispatching any monsters coming after them was nowhere near as daunting as simply living their everyday lives. I adored it! Romance, Sci-Fi, ambivalence, danger, IRMC story lines. It was perfect. It was something in which I could lose myself and see myself. It was also something I could write. And so I have with THE FELIG CHRONICLES series. I am proud of Nate's and Tina's interracial love story. I like that they have a bunch of multicultural friends. This pair fights hard and loves hard and always, always cracks jokes while doing it.

So please welcome them back in 2013 by scoping out UNION: THE FELIG CHRONICLES, BOOK THREE from Extasy Books. www.extasybooks.com I do not have a cover or release date yet but it's coming. When I get a cover I'll post it. Look at this early book trailer or watch an updated home made book trailer on my website in the meantime. www.pjdeanwriter.weebly.com


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