Not ready to say goodbye to the sparkle? Check your local stores for the latest installment of the Once Upon a Tiara series, Tempting the Beauty Queen 👉https://tinyurl.com/ycgzpk62
Not ready to say goodbye to the sparkle? Check your local stores for the latest installment of the Once Upon a Tiara series, Tempting the Beauty Queen 👉https://tinyurl.com/ycgzpk62
Why are we fighting to sit at a table where we are not wanted…by the majority?
Let’s imagine there’s a dinner and a presentation. You may be allowed to sit at the table but you’re not allowed to eat. If you want to eat, you have to sit at a smaller table mixed with a bunch of people you don’t know but are placed there simply because you have similar hue.
What am I talking about? The RWA Ritas. Every year the members of RWA pay $50 to submit their release of that year if they want a chance at winning a RITA.
RWA acknowledged in a statement that basically, no Black author has won a Rita. Just to be clear, Beverly Jenkins (I say her name and bow down like Wayne and Garth “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy”, won RWA’s Lifetime Achievement Award without ever winning a Rita.
If you follow twitter you will find that many Authors of Color #AOC are upset at this glaring mark.
In January of 2017 a group of #AOC got together and decided we are all going to
1-Judge the RWAs
2-Enter an eligible book. I was a part of this group.
As we all know by now, I have 6 kids in my house, 21, 17, 15, 14, 14, and 13. Five boys, one girl. Four of them are my nephews and they are growing like weeds. So between feeding 5 boys and keeping them in shoes that fit and are not torn at the bottom (the asphalt is a killer on their soles at our basketball goal). One kid plays soccer, two ran track, one does mock trial and debate. Between my kids’ schedule, work, my books on deadline, I managed to make time to read the seven entries I was given.
I gave everyone a fair shot and read from front to cover. Two of the authors in my group made it to the finals… so yay! But I also noticed, not one book given to me was written by a Black Author. It wasn’t until AFTER the Ritas were announced that we began to scratch our heads. Mind you… there are like at least 10 of us who entered and judged. That’s of the ladies I know. … not including the #AOC who may have entered (we don’t all know each other). But given that plenty of authors were upset… I believe there were more than 15 entries.
Now, with me being a newbie author and first time entering, but some of the folks I know who entered didn’t final. I’m like What the Entire EFF!!
So let’s fast forward after the hint of #RitasSoWhite got out, the statement came out and some truly nice, genuine authors offered to pay the entree fee for #AOC. And in this case I mean African American authors because two Latinx authors finaled. Alexis Daria and Priscilla Oliveras and their books are yummazing!
Back to the entree fee… it sparked more conversation. One fabulous author broke down the entrees of AOC/POC vs Non-AOC and times the number of people reading, percentages, math work, carry the two… anyway… as you can see, it sparked more conversation.
The twitter conversation brought up how Harlequin is ending their Kimani line. I am a Kimani author. A lady popped on and said she always thought that Kimani’s were for AA people only and what can she do to help? My initial knee-jerk reaction while at the orthodontist’s office with my son was to list my Kimani sisters and said start there… but I asked first.. what her favorite trope was. Click here if you want to see a list I found and I’m going to weave in some recommendations later on.
I do not want this lady to think I am knocking her or making fun of her for thinking Kimani books are only for African American women. She did reach out for some recommendations. But when I want to buy a book, I read the blurbs. I love anything Presents…but I don’t pull my hand back from grabbing Caitlyn Crews’ latest off the shelf because she is white and I am not. I don’t pick my movies that way. I like a challenge. I like to see what the heroine is up against and go from there. How are they going to to fall in love, back in love, and whatever. Folks, we all fall in love. We all fall for a type of guy. These guys exist in every color. It’s not rocket science.
Let’s go back to the tropes. Love a Small Town romance? Globe trotting romance? Science fiction? Fantasy? (don’t get me started about the co-worker who didn’t really get into my books because they’re not relate-able yet she devoured vampire books.
BUT an author decided she had an answer for it all. Separate awards. For reals folks! Here is the blog… Here’s the picture that conjures up in my mind though
(photo credit goes to http://talesforallages.com/)
Does she see the dangers of going BACK in time like that? Multicultural is not a genre. Was this person afraid that by giving #AOC a chance…that it would take away from her? Did the judges who didn’t score #AOC high so they’d place worry that their spot at the table would be taken? Did the success of The Black Panther freak people out? Please take a moment to read this article where the success was said to be Hollywood’s worst nightmare. *le sigh*
And everyone has a feeling on diversity. NPR got in on the discussion. The Billion-Dollar Romance Fiction Industry Has A Diversity Problem And we found out a few hours after that posted…the interviewer was given SIX names. Five of the authors were African American and one was a POC but not African American. The topic was about the exclusion of African American romance authors. Can you guess who the interviewer chose? I’m not surprised. I once saw a clip of this TV show (it was canceled) but the horrible ex girlfriend made the comment… “I want to eat Ethiopian food without being around Ethiopian people”..I mentioned the show was canceled, right.
I have this question. Why are we getting our feelings hurt… getting frustrated over seeking acceptance from folks who DON’T want us? In high school, did we keep trying to sit at the table where there were no seats? Or they flat out said
Why bring in our own table and invite those who WANT to sit with us–no matter the color/creed.. and what else do we say with that? Religion too. No one will be judged… unless you order your tea unsweetened, bite into string cheese rather than pull it apart, and/or sleep with socks on your feet.
I want to start my own group! Lower the membership fee. We’ll have a monthly bracket for the romance that come out that month. Each author will advance in their trope. Best Hometown Hero. Best Alpha Hero. Best.. you get it.
And we’ll name this table ..Be Our Guest.. or Best Guest.. oh! whatever!
clearly this is a work in progress but uh…
At this table we’ll have those who “get it” and those who are “woke” and down for the cause.. the cause being ROMANCE… the HEA Darlings!
Remember my favorite tropes.. these are just a few and my recommendations of #AOC if we share the same taste in these tropes.
This list, by far, does not equally represent the plethora of talented authors. My imaginary table is going to be filled with tons of people… folks on the list.. and folks I’ve met and read along the way.
Look! I’ve already picked out our dishes!
And remember… You don’t have to be a Beauty Queen to read my books.
I don’t wanna grow up… I’m a Toys “R” Us Kid…..
This whole Toys “R” Us closing thing has me in tears. First of all.. This is the store where I fell in love with giraffes and tried to write my Rs backwards just to be cute.
I am totally about to be so
Un-Apologetically Girly right now.
My adoptive mother was a hippie.. a feminist hippie before I knew what one was. I just knew we’d never have Kellogg’s Frosted Flakes or Apple Jacks in the house ..she rocked the belted pads (go ask someone over 50).
So when she adopted me…I was probably her worst nightmare. I loved anything she hated….and it wasn’t to be ornery or anything. She adopted me at the age of one and according to stories, I would run over to hug the ladies wearing firs and stockings. I loved bright red lipstick and high heels. To my adoptive mother’s dismay… I loved one going to Toys “R” Us and picking out materialistic things.
I grew up with the stuffed animals and baby dolls, board games my brother and I fought over (I was a sore loser) and then I matured. There was one and only aisle for me!
(photo credit) http://www.lovethispic.com/image/201956/material-girl)
The Barbie Aisle!!
(photo is from https://totalsororitymove.com/the-pink-aisle-at-toy-stores-is-at-risk-of-becoming-extinct/)
I feel so sorry for the kids this day who will never get the chance to feel the joy and elation of turning the corner at Toys “R” Us and seeing the pink aisle…aka.. The Barbie Aisle.
Going to Toys “R” Us was my research,… my kernel for creating epic love stories at the age of ….
This was the initial place for what would not be considered fan-fiction…book-fodder.. plot bunnies or whatever you want to call it.
This was the way I chose which doll was going to star in my next big play and what they would wear (because God forbid that woman buy me new clothes for my dolls). I painstakingly wrote out scripts for me and my friends …and this is before copy-machines… and made a story-line for Barbie and her friends.
Do you remember the scene from The Addams Family Values?
Here’s the clip if you haven’t seen the movie.
I felt the exact same way… except I believe I wanted a Kissing Barbie and instead I got a Sun Lovin’ Skipper. I believe that’s when I decided to cast my stepmother as the wicked stepmonster because she wanted me to have age appropriate dolls. As if!
As I get older I can never remember what doll I really wanted but I know I didn’t get the one I wanted and I specifically went to the store.. picked up the box and presented it to them to make sure they understood where it was and which Barbie I wanted.
Anyway… I still have my Barbies for inspiration.
And even on a writing retreat… I got a little creative with this horror (yes.. I was supposed to be writing)
Okay, enough with that…. point is… had it not been for Toys “R” Us, I wouldn’t have such a creative mind at the age of um..hmmm…
Back then we had to drag out parents to the store. Now everything is point and click … I mean sure..we used to circle what we wanted in big-ass catalogs.. so I guess that’s kinda the same.
Happy New Year, y’all!!
We are currently experiencing a #SnowDay here in Tallahassee, FL and so it gave me a chance to read all the inspiring articles in this month’s Pink Heart Society about #rebranding. My #KimaniSisters did their thing and now I’m sitting here hitting the backspace button on an idea I want to pitch…I’m seriously curled up under the covers feeling all inadequate after seeing how on-the-ball these ladies are! Y’all know I suffer from #AuthorEnvy (lol.. it’s a real thing! I promise!). As we all know, Kimani is closing and the questions are flowing from people….”So what now?” Um yeah, I don’t have the foggiest idea. These ladies have their shit together!
Like.. yeah..I saw on Harlequin’s Milestones how I’m celebrating book #5 along with some other spectacular authors (some of them are to blame for a big chunk of money disappearing from my wallet lol…you know who you are!). But if you got to their amazon pages…they have SO MANY other books in the works pre-and-post Harlequin Kimani.
So back to this blog about rebranding. I took a lot of their words to heart and want to thank them.
Ac Arthur –#Rebranding – The 3 ‘R’s of Starting Over
Zuri Day – #Rebranding – The Brand That Binds
Cheris Hodges – #Rebranding – Black Love Matters
Lindsay Evans -#Rebranding – Explore Other Avenues
Synithia Williams -#Rebranding – When One Door Closes
Reese Ryan – #Rebranding – Spreading the Love by Writing for Multiple Publisher Imprints
But if you get a chance .. here’s my article. I’m so honored to have been asked to participate.
Here’s what I know about Blake Shelton. He had a song “Hillbilly Bone”… (which I’m allowed to sing on account of my West Virginia bloodline).. he’s on The Voice, he’s dating Gwen Stefani, and he was just named sexiest man alive by People Magazine .
I’m going to comment as I flip through the…., I guess, honorable mentions–
The Pearson men.. from NBC’s This is Us (also known as Tuesday Tissue Night). I’m good with that.. but I’d be pleased if Toby was in there somewhere.
Please find his “season” of Burning Love
Luis Fonsi .. who you ask… Think Summer 17’s biggest hit… Despacito.
Ben Platt .. the dude from Pitch Perfect…. not the to be confused with Chris Pratt (dude from Parks & Rec/Guardians of the Galaxy/Jurassic World)
Okay… he will always have my heart because of Noah.
And that’s all the website gave me. I guess I’m going to have to push my grocery cart in a long line at the store so I’ll have time to properly thumb through to see who else made the list.
In the meantime… Most of the writers I know like to “cast their books” when starting to write. So we all have our own desires/tastes/whatever to say who is and who isn’t sexy.
I made my own lil’ list of the sexiest men alive… all of these men have been a muse at one point or another in my completed books. Feel free to check out my published books and see if you can guess who would play my heroes.
Don’t even get me started on my full WIP list of muses. #whew … now after going through all of this.. I’m thinking about creating a new series.. stay tuned to see if I follow through with Moonshine & Magnolias .. omg the ideas are coming in! Sheesh! I need to write and I need to edit… So.. that’s all for now.
PS… stop by Jen Doyle’s Blog to win some cool holiday stuff!
Y’all know at my age it’s hard to make friends #momlife .. etc. So of course I gotta talk about it and boast (yes.. just as I do when I am carded in the grocery line when buying my wine)
I met a FB friend and she’s awesome. Her name is Jen Doyle . She is a romance writer and you can see she likes baseball … click here and check out her books and she put together this really cool get-into-the-Christmas-spirit give away.
Can you see all these talented authors? Kelly Bowen , Brownen Evans, Anna Harrington, Sheryl Lister , Farrah Rochon , Reese Ryan , Shannon Stacey, Tara Wyatt , and Jen Doyle ….Well guess what? One lucky person is going to receive 10 books–one from each of the participating authors PLUS a $25 Amazon gift certificate. If you want a chance to win, you’ve got to enter…. go to: http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/c00761f51/?
Yes.. I will shamefully hang my head and admit that I love Christmas movies. Some of these movies I can justify watching without feeling too guilty. I’ve followed this genius’s list and made my own notes and comments on whether or not I will watch it/maybe watch it/hands down gotta watch. Also… because we all know that during the holidays on TV it is truly a land out there.. I’ve put in a couple of POC alerts (persons of color… if I missed someone… or outed them…let me know) .. also… Rumor Has It… Hallmark is open to submissions. SUBMIT YOUR STORY
Grab your favorite snack food and let’s get on with this list.
November 11th (my B-day btw)
8:00 pm Hallmark The Sweetest Christmas starring Lacey Chabert, Lea Coco and Jonathan Adams
9:00 pm HMM A Song for Christmas starring Becca Tobin & Kevin McGarry.
7:00 pm Up A Very Country Christmas starring Greyson Holt…. I’ll watch because he was totally hot in Bitten
(yes, I am shallow)
8:00 Hallmark Enchanted Christmas starring Alexa PenaVega and Carlos PenaVega
So I’ll watch this because, yay, POC! And also.. because I watched these kids grow up via my kids. So I’ll cry in my popcorn and feel old and cry because I love holiday movies and happy endings.
9:00 HMM Engaging Father Christmas starring Erin Krakow, Niall Matter, and Wendie Malick
This is the follow up to Erin Krakow reminds me of Kate (Erin Gray) from Silver Spoons and so yep.. that’s justifiable reason enough to watch this movie.
8:00 Hallmark Channel Coming Home for Christmas starring Danica McKeller. I’ll watch because I am secretly waiting for Kevin to show up and sweep her off her feet. Yeah, I don’t care what Daniel Stern said at the end of the series.
9:00 HMM Christmas Homecoming starring Julie Benz
8:00 Hallmark A Gift to Remember …. yeah… a bookstore worker… I like books. That’s reason enough!
9:00 HMM A Bramble House Christmas this was a book by a fellow Harlequin author, CJ Carmichael (although this book is not under them.. but if you didn’t know already, I write for Harlequin.. at least for now ->see me
8:00 Hallmark With Love, Christmas
8:00 Hallmark The Mistletoe Inn Alicia Witt plays an aspiring ROMANCE NOVELIST HELLOOOOOOOOO that’s totally me! And her character’s last name is Rossi.. could it be.. as in .. just kidding! I kid! I kid! Unless you are interested, it’s available for your kindle at any of the following fine places
Barnes and Noble http://bit.ly/2cZZMYr
KOBO Books http://bit.ly/2djXvb2
Google Play http://bit.ly/2dhAdzu
The Wild Rose Press http://bit.ly/2d4O3sO
Okay.. back to rationalizing why it is okay for me to watch these new Christmas movies.
8:00 PBS Umm,… I hate to be the ignorant one.. but I never read a single page of these books. But I think it’s because in my building where I used to live, there was a girl with parents going through a divorce and everyone thought I needed to be nice to her and all she could talk about was this book while she had a bird she let fly around free in her bedroom as if it was a normal thing—which it’s not.
*deep breath, Carolyn*
8:00 Hallmark The Christmas Train POC Alert! Danny Glover. And Dermot Mulroney is in here. How dare he still be sexy! I remember his 1st movie Sin of Innocence which starred Megan Follows.. who was also in the early versions of Anne of Green Gables
8:00 Hallmark Finding Santa this stars Jodie Sweetin. I didn’t like her on Full House but I love her on Fuller House. So.. I feel like I owe it to her to watch this.
8:00 Lifetime Wrapped Up in Christmas POC Alert!!!! Tatyana Ali aka Little Ashley Banks ..Brendan Fehr, Kim Fields, JASMINE GUY Joseph Marcell, JASMINE GUY, Dan Lauria, Jackee Harry, JASMINE GUY, and Mindy Sterling, AND JASMINE GUY
7:00 UP Christmas Solo POC Alert!! Nakia Toussaint is in this.
8:00 Hallmark Switched for Christmas — twin sisters swap places. Twice the DJ Tanner?
8:00 Lifetime A Very Merry Toy Store Can I say POC Alert? Mario Lopez. Melissa Joan Hart stars in this… and I can almost give her a pass for maybe about everything because she did a movie already with Mario called Holiday in Handcuffs and she did Drive Me Crazy.
9:00 ION The name of the movie is SNOWMANCE! WTF did I think of that name?! Now I HAVE to see it.
8:00 Hallmark Christmas in Evergreen POC Alert!!! Holly Robinson-Pete. whhhat?
8:00 Lifetime Four Christmases and a Wedding..this stars Arielle Kebbel… I can watch this because I am mature and I can overlook the fact that she was the mean girl in Aquamarine (don’t judge.. I have kids, remember)… because she was the super cool BFF in Vampire Diaries.
10:00 Lifetime –Lifetime seems to be doing these mini-movies. I have to mention this one The Ugly Christmas Sweater… only because in there’s an Ugly Christmas Sweat Party. If you haven’t read it…of course you should.. and you can get it at these fine places….
Barnes & Noble http://bit.ly/2cRNkaO
KOBO Books http://bit.ly/2d4LarL
Indie Bound http://bit.ly/2d4LE0Y
Google Play http://bit.ly/2dbsrex
8:00 Hallmark Christmas at Holly Lodge ehhhhhhh? it has POC i n it? Sheryl Lee Ralph
9:00 ION The Spruces and the Pines? We’ll see.
8:00 Hallmark Christmas Encore
8:00 Lifetime Christmas in Mississippi starring Jana Kramer. Hated her in One Tree Hill until the last season.. so I may watch.
9:00 ION Runaway Christmas Bride. It stars the girl who played in Unleashing Mr. Darcy… and that movie was cute. So… we’ll see.
7:00 UP Christmas Princess — all I could find was ….Storyline Against the backdrop of Christmas in Southern California comes Christmas Princess, a heart-warming story inspired by true events about one brave high school girl who overcomes her difficult past to become one of the elite princesses in the world-renowned royal court of the Tournament of Rose Parade.
8:00 Sharing Christmas
9:00 ION A Royal Christmas Ball .. a 39 year old hero.. and a heroine with a 17 year old… might just check it out!
8:00 Hallmark Father Christmas
8:00 Lifetime Snowed-Inn Christmas um yeah.. so it has One Tree Hill’s Haley… Bethany Joy Lenz So I kinda gotta watch.
9:00 HMM Unbridled Love
9:00 ION A Christmas Cruise POC Alert!!! Vivica A Fox and Kristoff St. John (are y’all watching Queen Sugar? Doesn’t the son remind you of Kristoff? I would totally cast them)
9:00 Fox A Christmas Story Live! Love the movie.. POC Alert.. Maya Rudolph!
8:00 The Great Christmas Light Fight I’ll watch.. and maybe channel in my Christmas competitiveness… which I so won’t have because I am not about to let my electric bill get any higher!
8:00 Hallmark Christmas Getaway
7:00 Up Winter Wedding – or is the title Wedding Wonderland?
When Hallie and Lucas get engaged, they quickly begin planning the tropical beach wedding of their dreams. But the happy couple starts to get caught in family drama when both sets of parents can’t seem to agree on anything. Adding to the turmoil, their destination is completely booked and the next available spot is over a year away. Not wanting to wait, they decide to have their ceremony at Lucas’ mountain lodge in the snow. Their love is tested when the stress of keeping everyone happy gets to be too much.
8:00 Lifetime A ROYAL NEW YEAR’S EVE
Collecting and customizing Barbie dolls
Celebrating Caribbean Women Everywhere
USA Today Bestselling Author
Fun. Flirty. Sexy. Romance
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