Friday, October 30, 2015


I WON TWO SWIRL AWARDS! Best historical romance for my historical romance KINDRED, AN AMERICAN LOVE STORY and 2nd runner up for PARADOX, the 4th book in my paranormal series in the SF/F category. It's been a good week!

The SWIRL AWARDS - Recognizes excellence in romance written without color barriers

An adorable moment of bonding between a father and child!

First of all, I loathe World Star Hip Hop. LOATHE IT! It is not on my list of things to care about. Ever. Just not my speed. But even a broke clock is right twice a day. I was emailed the link to this piece of heaven by a friend. So this video just might be the ONLY thing of worth and beauty on that ratchet-assed site.

I dare you! I double dog dare you to NOT find this friggin' adorable! This man has given his daughter a lovely memory, a lovely gift. Singing Erykah Badu's Bag Lady in the car with Daddy - Priceless! And Babygirl got skillz!

credit -

More non-White romance authors writing the "others" experience

Yes. I know some folks will get their panties in a twist because I chose to title my post the way I did. But you know what? People in Hell want ice water too. So just like making sure everyone and their mother who writes a romance book is included and making sure everyone has a cool refreshment in Hades...Neither are in my pay grade! Anyhoo, let's get this party started with this continuing service. Today's list is a mix of Old School and New School.

Nikki Woolfolk - writes Steampunk with non-White main characters that are not straight. Nikki's books are filled with recipes and chocolate desserts too. See the links below for more on all that is offered at the website and the eShop.

Kim Golden - contemporary with a European flare
Xio Axelrod - writer of contemporaries
Holley Trent - contemporary and paranormal
Delaney Diamond - writes sweet and sensual romances
Brenda Jackson - prolific author of the Texas Westmoreland series and much more
Francis Ray -  the late writer from Texas; a contemporary of  Beverley Jenkins and Rochelle Alers
Rochelle Alers - a regular of contemporaries on the romance scene
Farrah Rochon - a Harlequin Kimani author with many titles to her name in several genres
LaShawn Vasser -  contemporary
Eve Vaughn - contemporary/alternate worlds; hot and edgy
Raven St. Pierre - hot contemporaries with emotion-filled plots

That's it for this week. More to come...

Friday, October 23, 2015

The diversity in romance publishing push? Please. I'm so over that boondoggle




I'm going to be frank, blunt and upfront. I'm tired of this campaign. This campaign to coax skittish mainstream readers to read a romance where the couple falling for one another DOES NOT MIRROR the relationships in the other romance books they usually BUY and READ and DISCUSS. So over this campaign to nowhere. The only romance books with "diverse" couples that are doing booming business are m/m romances. Blog after blog, Review after review. Mainstreamers seem to adore reading about two ripped, hot men going at it. Make it as cliched as possible and it flies off the virtual shelves. Good for the writers. Follow your dream! Make that bank!

Now the 800 lb. elephant in the room is the still stagnate sales of "diverse" romance penned by non-White authors, that feature a HEROINE who DOES NOT possess the characteristics of the average, mainstream reader. And you know what characteristics I'm talking about and you know what the mainstream looks like. And this is where the conditioning creeps in. Take a breath. Stay with me. Buckle that seat belt. Might get bumpy but it's gotta be said.

Non-White romance book heroines are tolerated if they skew Caucasian. Let me say that again. Non-White romance heroines are tolerated and sell a little better if the writer "writes" her Caucasian. Also if the writer writes this chick in the vaguest terms possible. Meaning? If a writer leaves out any, or all references, to experiences or things that would place the heroine firmly in the camp of the "other." That colorblind bull shyte that is anything but.  Supposedly a reader needs to identify with the heroine, use her as a placeholder when immersed in the book. Really? So the mention of a twist-out or a samosa or a phrase from someone else's mother tongue takes you out of the story? In this age of Google? Get away from me with that lie. I'm not tryin' to hear that. With the success of m/m romance, you ladies must be leading double lives or got big secrets because the booming m/m romance genre features DUDES getting it on! You can relate to that greatly because the cash register ain't never lied!

So what I'm picking up from industry insiders is, a "diverse" heroine sells more if she isn't perceived as "diverse." And if she's a dude, all the better! As for the differently-abled of any hue or sexual orientation, depictions of those characters do well too.

It's just those pesky Marias and Whitneys, and Jades and Priyankas with all their "foreign" features, getting the guy, or girl, or both, in the end who fall flat specifically those written by writers who resemble them. That kills me too because books with dinos and T-Rexs and inanimate objects as love interests sell like hotcakes. Anything but the non-White female, written by the non-White author, as someone's object of affection, sells? Is reading about the non-White chick, written by a non-White author, getting her HEA so abhorrent? So unbelievable?


So either the mainstream reader is plain just not interested? Or biased? Or both? And/or the industry is lying on their readers. I think it's all of the above.

 So the utter failure of  any breakout new authors of the diverse from the diverse is...sad. Why? Because the traditional romance publishing industry is doing what all good businesses do when demands are made of them. 1) present a facade featuring a handful of authors as shining examples of writing "diversely." Attention! Some of those writers are non-White; most are White. Read the label. 2) string along the outsiders railing against these businesses' hallowed halls by paying lip service to the issue with a flurry of "diversity panels or workshops."

Yeah. A panel will fix it 'cuz we are all a monolith. *facepalm*

Please. And these workshops are for whom? They are not for my benefit or anyone who looks like me. They are for the benefit of writers who live in a plastic bubble who never come in contact with the "other" and therefore need some generic blueprint or shorthand on how to scribble a character not like them. My advice: Get a diverse life.

My remedy? For the mainstream reader who truly is looking for solid romance heroines who aren't all slim, flaxen-haired, green-eyed, eighteen and lily-white of skin presented by writers who possess none of those traits either, I'm dropping a list of non-White romance writers below.

Pardon me if I exclude Octavia Butler and Beverly Jenkins. Most mainstream readers know of these terrific women. In fact, they are probably the ONLY ones they know. The following list encompasses all genres: paranormal, historical, erotic romance, erotica, contemporary, SF/F, etc. The list below should fill all your romance needs. The aforementioned areas are genres.


And that's why I'm sooooo over the little diversity campaign that couldn't. I write romance. Period. It's got a mix of people caring for, loving, hating and pining for one another. Like people in any other romance book. You looking for what I have to offer? You know where to find me. And not in the wasteland of multicultural. Remember an author's name. You can do that, can't you? If their style speaks to you, you'll like all their other stuff. You'll find some of what you are searching for on the following list. And remember Regency England wasn't all dukes and earls. Somebody had to clean the manse and polish the silver. And the help wasn't all White either. Just sayin.


Lavender Parker
Harper Miller
Seressia Glass
Piper Huguley
Suleikha Snyder
Sharon Cullars
Rebekah Weatherspoon
Lyn Brittan
Vanessa Riley
Alisha Rai
Echo Ishii

That's just a partial list. More coming.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

CON FUNK SHUN! Our Throwback band of the day!

By now you know I have an unabashed love for the many membered, r-n-b groups of the 70s and 80s. They were the soundtrack of my coming  of age. Those groups with 15 guys (or gals), a strong horn section, a bad bass player and a relentless drummer. Loved them all. Best dance music ever. They declined as time marched on and the economy worsened. Staging, maintaining and hosting these bands took a ton of money. A lot. The 80s took their toll on these acts. Concert-goers stopped attending shows because their money was tight due to the recession. Insufficient ticket sales needed to fill a venue, coupled with major upkeep and the expense of being on the road shut down these bands. They might re-group for special dates but the days of long tours are done. With the push for solo acts, the homogenization of the R-n-B market, the popularity of rap/hip-hop and the trend in NOT spending ANY cash on the creative arts (yes, you freebie folks!), big acts like funk groups petered out. Funk is a lost art.

Anyhoo, today's Throwback band is CON FUNK SHUN. Cross James Brown with sly and the Family Stone and you got their sound. My absolute favorite song by them? FFUN.
Peruse the photos.

See more at


now with some younger stand-ins

Friday, October 16, 2015

Arrrrrrrrrrrgh! What part of "nonconsensual" do you folk not understand when dealing with problematic historical romance tales, uh?

Before I have a conniption, let me air this ish. First off, I'm gonna get territorial or generational or FFS. Plain mad.

Just left my weekly trolling of Twitter (that place where logic goes to die but with hipster panache). The droppings of the day are spinning around an ebook called The Garconniere (sorry about the missing diacritical mark under the "c.") Described on Goodreads as "beautifully written" "eloquent."  It's a 142 page "romance" (re: steaming dump of poo) about a male slave on a Southern plantation and his master's young family relation having a benign love affair against the backdrop of blooming magnolias and night jasmine. Barf bag, anyone? Anyway, raised together, the White guy has always had this symbiotic relationship with the young slave. Because owners leaned on their purchases for everything. I call it leeching the life outta the guy but, hey, I'm being an insensitive soul 'cuz slave holders had feelings too and the highest regard for their "things."


What is with this obsession with writing slave/master romances set in the plantation U. S. South? What is the allure? What is this need to spin the narrative to depict a "happy ending?"

In the vein of that trainwreck, For Such a Time by Frau Kate Breslin, the courtesy has been extended to the African-American and gay communities with this "beautifully written" POS. Two fantasies for the price of one! Forbidden IR and dudes! Oh yummy! (My head's about to explode)

No! No! What effin part of non consensual doesn't register with these scribbling broads? Property has no room for consent. If you are owned, you do what the guy who owns you says! Love affair. Yeah right. I hear Hitler loved his dog too. Didn't stop him from exterminating people.

I am as appalled at the readers of this book that gave it glowing reviews as I am at the author.

Am I being closed-mined? Yes. Like I've said before, these "writers" can scrawl whatever they want. But they should be prepared to face the music if the topic reeks. And this topic reeks because the actions of real slave owners of centuries past STILL reverberate down through the years. And the results have been devastating to a people only seen as good for free labor and easy sex, sexual assault, rape. And male slaves were raped with as much regularity as the female ones. It was all about exerting power over a human being sexually. No roses. No gumdrops. No seductions.

So, no. I'm not down with revisionist history or this sickening revisionist "romance" where the need for the hero's absolution/redemption  trumps the real, nasty business of what was happening and what he was doing. No matter how prettily it's concocted.

Seems like the aftershocks of slavery have buried themselves deep in White romance authors' psyche because every other week there is a White romance author trotting out variations of this tired trope. And then they get pissy about it when folk side-eye it. Why? You gotta know making a person who owns other persons or is making life miserable for others, the "hero" in a romance, and then making him palatable is a challenge. And you with your limited view of the world little, ole you are gonna make this creature redeemable. Maybe you know mainstream readers love a redemption arc. What better one than a SLAVE OWNER who loves his chattel. Because some bridge club member in Peoria, who is as equally limited in life experiences, will remark, "Look, Marge. He loves that boy.  I knew it wasn't as bad as they said it was. Some masters were kind sweethearts!" UGH!

These "books" are for readers who, I swear, deep down feel that the Plantation South was just one big lawn party full of bottomless mint juleps and happy darkies. And if a White writer depicts it that way, it's gotta be true. Amirite? The same folks, I swear, live in LaLaLand and cling to crinolines and the obvious hope that consuming this stuff is somehow cathartic for them. Because if they can like a monster of a hero (and yes. slave owners were monsters. no way around that fact. check the history), hey, how can he be that bad?  I could be wrong but it's just waaay too much of this "creative ish" popping off nowadays to be co-incidental.

Don't even get me started on the idiotic backlash that rises up when these forays into "literature" are criticized for making misery entertaining.

Just a thought. UGH, again! In the meantime, I need a shower after this doosy.

Ps check out the mix of reviews at Goodreads

The mighty Bar-Kays!

To end the week on a sweet note...A blast from my kid past! The mighty Bar-Kays!  This group from Memphis, Tennessee hit the music scene in 1966 and ran through a roster of over 20 members during its run. They started as the backup band for the late, great Otis Redding, a connection that would continue until Redding would die, along with 4 other Bar-Kay members and the pilot, in a plane crash winging home from a flurry of gigs. One Bar-Kay member (Ben Cauley) on board at the time survived, and Mr. Cauley passed this past September 24th, 2015 at the age of 67. Some hits: Soul Finger, Boogie Body Land, Son of Shaft. 

Oh, yes. Summer in the city. Lunchtime circa 1970. School is out. A cherry water ice. A soft pretzel. A Bar-Kays tune blaring in the background from my trusty transistor radio while I sat on the stoop playing jacks with friends.

Peep the modified Thulsa Doom haircut in the back row. And the bare-chested fashion trend. The 70s! Don't cha love 'em? I did and do.

now, a few new members added, word. talk about OGs with 'tude.

Monday, October 12, 2015

Ta-da! I made a list sponsored by Barnes & Noble naming 20 books that blend Sci-Fi and romance!

Here is the link to the B&N article that list 20 books with a mix of Sci-fi and romance. And the lead-in book to my paranormal/Sci-fi series made the freakin' cut! I'm honored. I'm gonna break a rule and go pig out on organic gummie bears in celebration. Yes, I am. Go check it out.

Friday, October 9, 2015

Alyce Dixon - America's oldest living female WWII veteran (WAC) turned 108 years old last month!

Love that dress and the sheer elegance of the subject! Ms. Dixon was one of the first civilians to work at the Pentagon. Changing careers mid-stream, she decided to join the Women's Army Corp at the age of 31 as postal support, ensuring all that correspondence traveling back and forth between armed forces' members stationed abroad and their families during WWII reached its destination. She was feted by the President and Mrs. Obama on her special day.

info courtesy of

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Grace Lee Boggs, the sistah from another mother who knew the score

Activist Grace Lee Boggs

Grace and her husband James

Civil Rights activist, community activist, environmentalist and supporter of causes ameliorating the human condition has died at 100 years of age in her Detroit home. Born in Providence, Rhode Island, above the restaurant that her father, Chin Lee, owned and to Yin Lan Lee, his second wife, a feminist role model for the young Grace. A contemporary of Malcolm X, she failed in persuading him in running for the U. S. Senate.  An outlier, a dreamer, a warrior. She was a force.
Grace Lee Boggs June 27, 1915 - October 5, 2015

Learn more about Mrs. Boggs at

Monday, October 5, 2015

Musings on Mars movies, Black IT and outer space

So, The Martian ruled the box office this weekend in the States. Matt Damon made it back from Mars with the help of Black IT. Not the Black Eyed Peas. I said Black IT. Donald Glover and Chiwetel Ejiofor brought the stranded, left for dead Damon back to Earth. and their Latino colleague drew up a plan that Damom could use to rig a ride together. Diversity! Let us now practice this IRL. I hope that inspired little Black/Brown kids to realize that there are other ways to succeed besides being a rapper or being a baller. Or an actor. Diversity in STEM is needed. And examples need to be seen in media and in real life. Okay, I'm stepping off the soapbox now. The space adventure made 65 million smackeroos. Good. There were two other Mars movies in the last 15 years that I liked but they died at the box office like a real human would if left on Mars. Red Planet and Mission to Mars were pretty good flicks. Both came out in 2000, November and March respectively. I liked the chemistry between Val Kilmer's and Carrie-Ann Moss's characters (and it had hefty pieces of eye-candy too - Benjamin Bratt and Simon Baker and Tom Sizemore and eye candy of old, Terence stamp) and the plot to this day when I watch it, still has me on the edge of my seat. The second film had Gary Sinese, Tim Robbins, Connie Nielsen, Don Cheadle, Kim Delaney and Jerry O'Connell and has them stranded on the red rock while yet another team on the ground rushes around trying to save them. I like outer space. From afar. I like wide  open spaces but this girl ain't the Manifest Destiny type. So, for those who are adventurous or tired of Earth or plain opportunist, be my guest. Sign up for those rocket rides. I'll stay here. Besides, when dealing with a beautiful landscape, it's always much better to stand back from it then to stomp all around it.