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Harlequin to Close Five Lines Including Kimani

Bad news for black female authors

Musings of Sharita Lira

Harlequin to Close Five Lines Including Kimani

As a black female author writing romance, opportunities to write love stories showing other women of color is already an uphill battle. Unfortunately, publishing still lags behind when it comes to showcasing main characters who are also people of color. And black females, well, there just aren’t enough of those romances out there in the mainstream market. Often times, the black females in romance are the sidekick of the Caucasian female or a supporting character not involved with the main story. And let’s face it, the way some authors have portrayed women of color in mainstream romance has been downright dreadful. However, that’s a topic for another day.

Back to the topic at hand. About three weeks ago, Harlequin made the announcement it would be closing five lines. Those include: Nocturne, Love Inspired Historical, Superromance, Harlequin Western, and Kimani.

KIMANI?

*screeching brakes*

According…

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Embracing Diversity in Fiction — REPOST

I’ve wanted to do another article about diversity in fiction for a while now. My first was about interracial romances and why I love writing them. With so much chatter going about the need for diversity in books, I had to speak on it again.

First let’s start off with a question for authors. Since I’m an author too, I figured I’d begin here. You’re an author and you have an idea for a story which features a character of a race other than your own. Say it’s a black male and you as a white female or male aren’t sure what to write. Do you scrap this idea, even though it could be one of your best books or do you try doing it yourself and using what you’ve seen on TV as your guide? I’ve talked with authors before who’ve said they’d rather not do the “black” character for fear of getting it wrong, but unless you’re doing a historical, say something in the days of slavery or in 1920’s Harlem New York, what could you possibly get wrong?

I say this because I’m a black female who may not fit the mold of the so called black stereotype.  One example, I like rock music and not rap. I don’t talk slang like many may perceive a black person to do. Yet, I’ve seen books with black characters who fit that description. In many publications, even those written by black authors, black characters are painted a certain way. The way they talk, dress, the neighborhood they’re from. Is it wrong? Not necessarily, but does it hold true for every black male or female? No. What I’m getting at is, when you’re an author you don’t have to draw from those stereotypes unless it fits into the plot. If your story is centered around black males who talk slang and dress a certain way fine. The problem comes in when every book paints black characters that way.

What about you as the reader? If the cover features characters that aren’t like you, are you more apt to shy away from it or does it even matter? I’ve heard rumblings about covers with black characters not selling well. Even worse, publishers haven’t put people of color on the front at all because they fear it won’t be marketable. Why is this? Do we live in a world that is fully white? No, so why should this even be an issue? The book should be judged on its plot and subject matter. If that’s interesting to you then you shouldn’t be deterred to read it because of the characters on the front.

I’m an author and reader who loves reading and writing books about diversity. Some people might take issue with certain books because of the race of characters. That’s not me. If the storyline is interesting I’ll read it whether it be two of the same race or multicultural. We live in a very diverse world so why wouldn’t we want more books that reflect today’s society?

In my opinion, authors should be the leaders in showing what’s outside the box. We should be writing characters whether they’re of different race, sexual orientation, religion, and or gender. Fiction is supposed to be about freedom to express yourself and it shouldn’t be held back because of what people think or say. People in general just want well written books with fleshed out characters not the colors of their skin or what religions they are.

We need more diversity in fiction for so many reasons. Why stifle creativity because of our various differences? I’m sure you’re saying it’s easier said than done but if we all do what we can to embrace diversity around us someone else might just learn from it and pass it on.

*Taps Mic* Is this thing on?

10001472_599995943412300_928966229_n Greetings readers. I truly CANNOT believe it’s been like 3 years since I posted, but okay fine. It is what it is. Shar has been busy putting out books left and right so there is one excuse. Hard to be the forth muse, right? And actually, there are 3 new ones, but that’s none of this muses business.

*smirks*

Anyway, I am FINALLY ready to write. It’s been forever I know, but Shar is committed to writing with me come this May. I’m totally excited to get out there and write some new swirly books for you to consume.

Believe you me, I’ve got a ton of ideas. *smiles* And thankfully, Shar is ready to tap into that side if her muse. The swirl is ever rampant, and IR is on the come up in publishing so this seems to be the perfect time. I’m going to start small. We’re going to do a few shorts and then move on to novels. Again, I am sharing Shar’s brain with like 9 other muses, 4 of which she’s not revealing, so it may take a little while. It just depends who gets more headspace, right? I’m sure fighting with BL and Michael will be fun too.

In the meantime, if you’re still tuned in to me, what fabulous IR books, MF or GLBTQ have you read? Please share in the comments! Be nice!

Shar released a few as she always does, and here’s my chance to let you know about them.

❤ ❤ ❤

UTGBLMorticia’s Under the Gun Series  There are two books, with the last one on it’s way by July/August!

Blurb for Book 1 Pre DADT Repeal…

Jaded by his lover leaving him for a woman, Camdyn Hardy is looking for love and partnership. When he goes to the local shooting range, he only wants to let off a little steam, but meeting Malik Day, a discharged army serviceman is a welcome surprise.

Malik’s issues go farther than just a lack of love. Discharged for defending a fellow gay soldier got him kicked out of the Army and back at home with his bible thumping parents. When Malik meets Camdyn, the sparks are there, but both of them are too afraid to make their desires known to each other.

After several conversations and dates, Camdyn and Malik are hot for one another and ready to take the next step. When they do, they discover they have a lot more in common than just a need for a committed relationship.

WoundedHearts The Wounded Series with BL and Remmy Duchene Wounded has 2 books only. The 2nd one is Wounded Pride

Blurb: Zane Ashford’s stint in the NYPD comes to an abrupt halt when he is injured in the line of duty. After waking up partially blind in one eye, all he wants to do is crawl into a hole, but his friends and family won’t leave him alone. Reluctantly, he lets his best friend talk him into time away on a ranch in Montana. But the moment he gets there and meets Cyrus Abrams, Zane begins to contemplate murder.

Cyrus Abrams is vulgar, ornery, stuck in his ways, and not about to change for anyone, no matter how good Zane Ashford looks in those jeans. The more they lock horns, the more Cyrus begins to see Zane in a whole new light.  But Cyrus has a past, one that left him in big trouble and more broken than he cares to admit—a past no one told Zane about. Cyrus fears that when Zane finds out, everything will come to a screeching halt.

Sales Links

DSPPaperback

DSPEbook

Amazon

Kobo

B&N

iBooks

Also available in French and Italian

HirahPINK.jpgHirah Blaze by BLMorticia is a 3 part series. the last one is due out July/August Below is book one. Book 2 is here

Blurb: If you want somethin’ real bad, you gotta work harder than everyone else.

My grandma was right about that. I did want to be the best damn guitarist. Not the best female guitarist or the best black female guitarist. The best fucking guitarist on the planet. Although Sarge and Diabolical Plan had given me the initial opportunity to show off my chops, I couldn’t be what I wanted to be with my ex-boyfriend steering the ship. I had to be the captain of my destiny. I had to be the one taking the lead.

Five months into it and I’m still pinching myself over this. Me, the little black goth girl from Milwaukee, along with Corey, Bryan Taylor, Nicolai Zander and the new guy on bass named Chad Stephenson.

Have I mentioned that Chad is hot as hell?

More about that later.

This is a spinoff of The Wretched Tales with new guitarist Hirah Blaze. She’s kicking ass and taking names, looking to become the metal world’s newest guitar goddess, but will she get sidetracked by The Wretched’s gorgeous new bass player?

Amazon

CloselyGuarded

Closely Guarded PROTEKT Book 2. On the Run is PROTEKT 1 The books can be read as standalone

Blurb: Promises are meant to be broken sometimes. Can Kimball complete the mission and keep his feelings for fellow agent Darien in check in the process?

Darien Mosely, aka BA Pointe, is a former NYPD officer with a chip on his shoulder. He came to PROTEKT in search of a new identity and career after being accused of killing a man in cold blood. Darien’s keen perception is what has made him an asset, but his cockiness has often landed him in hot water.

Kimball Emerson, aka Justice Masters, is an important figure in PROTEKT. Being a former army sergeant, he’s used to keeping secrets and being in danger on a regular basis. As one of the prime figures in the organization, he is counted on to be the finisher and, for the group’s latest task, he’s been called upon to find the leaders of a Russian mob. It should be easy enough with all his knowledge and special skills but not with his close friend Darien Mosely along for the ride.

Kimball made a promise to his fiancé that he’d come back in one piece and not watch his partner’s ass, but he isn’t sure he’ll be able to keep the latter. Darien and Kimball have been best friends for five years and, at a Christmas party several months ago, they shared a kiss that left an indelible mark on their relationship.

This latest mission calls for focus and calmer heads if they are to find the offenders who are bringing illegal drugs into Russia. The question is, how can they do it with mutual feelings and the threat of extreme danger looming over their heads?

Amazon Link

KOBO

B&N

Pride Publishing

SeeEvil1 See No Evil is our first trans romance. It is part of N’awlins Exotica so it will have to be read in order. It is the Final book in the series.

Blurb: Christmas comes sooner than expected in the Big Easy.

With the serial killer on the loose, the Crescent City has become a place of nightmares. Inflicting terror on New Orleans has been his first order of business, and now, due to a recent faux pas, he’s on the run from district nineteen police.

In the midst of this is trans dancer Naomi Beneviere. Naomi is concerned about her safety after three other dancers wound up dead at the hands of the serial killer. To make matters worse, she dreams of their murders and possible details about the suspect.

Crime Scene Investigator Waylon Mooney is the top CSI on the case which has been plaguing the city. Waylon is meticulous and a hopeless romantic, but his social skills are a little off. After a series of dates with Naomi and many sleepless nights, Waylon is ready to take the next step in their relationship, but the killer on the loose may hamper their progress.

Will Waylon be able to assist in finding the killer? And will Naomi Beneviere finally have the chance at a true relationship with Waylon?

See No Evil concludes the N’awlins Exotica series. All books must be read in order.

Links

Amazon – http://mybook.to/SeeNoEvil

Smashwords – https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/708793

Payhip – https://payhip.com/b/lJQp

First Openly Gay Player – Michael Sam

MichaelSamPerhaps you didn’t know anything about the NFL, the St. Louis Rams, or about Michael Sam but after Saturday night, unless you were living under a rock, you do now.

Michael Sam is the first openly gay athlete to be drafted by the NFL. It was big news across the globe, with the young man being congratulated by the likes of NFL greats, peers, and even President Obama.

In early February, Michael announced to the world he was gay after finishing his senior year at University of Missouri. It came as a shock to many with people saying how courageous he was. Others said he hurt his draft stock by coming out right before the NFL combine. (College players trying out for NFL teams)

Regardless of the stance from the majority, seemingly the biggest issue was something complete asinine: how would other NFL players feel about showering with a gay man.

Not, how he would fare against talent bigger or stronger than him, not how many teams might pass him over because he’s undersized but instead, how players would react to having him in the shower or the locker room.

Once again, people show their ignorance with comments regarding his character and behavior because he is gay. As if he’d be some kind of animal trying to go after NFL players and make them all gay like him. Or worse yet, he’d try to do things to them in the shower.

Unreal.
Despite all this, Sam was able to get through the combine and get drafted by the St. Louis Rams in the seventh round over the weekend. ESPN showed his emotional reaction as well as the celebratory kisses he shared with his boyfriend Vito. Again, the stupidity came from many who said ESPN shouldn’t have shown it or how gross it was to see two men kissing on national TV but kudos to ESPN for not discriminating against Sam or his man, enjoying the news with his loved ones.

To me, Michael Sam is not only a hero in the gay community but also in the black community. He stood up for himself and didn’t hide from anyone despite the adversity. In my opinion he can be a positive example for all gay youths to follow your dreams and don’t allow the naysayers to get you down.

Sam’s test isn’t over though. He still has to make the Rams team but regardless of what happens, he will always be known as the first openly gay player to be drafted in American major league sports.

Veronica Catching Up

Whew, has it been a month already? Seems like times flies by fast enough when you are a real person but even faster when you’re a muse. I have to admit, Shar has been hella busy trying to edit, release, and complete books for Michael, BL, and Rawiya so I’m patiently waiting but it does get to be annoying at times, especially when there are things going on that need to be talked about.

 

Here are two news stories that came through that I couldn’t wait to at least give an opinion on.

 

  1. Clippers

clippers

You can’t even talk NBA playoffs without speaking about the controversy surrounding The Los Angeles Clippers. I’d rather show the logo because all people involved except for the coach, the players, and the NBA commissioner who worked so fast to get rid of the idiot who owns the team.

 

In short, the owner was tapped by his girlfriend, no wait, mistress during a dinner conversation, saying some very hateful things against minorities, namely Magic Johnson. This caused outrage to people across the US with some saying his first amendment rights were violated and others saying he was a bigot. No, his first amendment rights weren’t violated but he was duped. I’ll give him that. The, uh, female who decided to take him claimed in an interview how he was from a different generation and repeated to Barbara Walters that he wasn’t a racist. He also said he wasn’t a racist and his wife? Well, she wants her piece of the team, claiming the fans love her.

 

Yes I know I’m probably bogus for not mentioning names but the owner, the wife, and that mistress are all foul in my eyes and don’t deserve more attention than their already getting.

 

In my opinion, good job by NBA commissioner Silver who acted quickly, instituting a lifetime ban on this fool. And as for that, er, female who says he’s not a racist? Please go away. You’re not innocent in this. You’re a two timing piece of trash! To the wife? No comment but I guess she just wants to get paid too. And later we find out this man is suffering from cancer. Well, I hate to say this but, looks like karma is really a bitch in this instance.

 

  1. Michael Sam

MichaelSam

Find the full page article written by Shar above. In my eyes this man is a hero. And I really don’t care what the pundits around the NFL say; if this man wouldn’t have gotten drafted the league would’ve been criticized heavily for not welcoming him even though he’s gay. Kudos to the St. Louis Rams and also to ESPN for showing the celebratory kiss that made me cry. *sheds tear* Seeing Sam show so much emotion around family and friends gave me hope that we’re making a step in the right direction.

 

Of course the idiots came out in full force with some saying ESPN shouldn’t have shown the kiss on national TV and a player from the Dolphins tweeting how horrible it was to see Sam kiss his boyfriend. Immediately, the Dolphins disciplined him, fining him and suspending him for just that tweet. I’m glad the Dolphins took swift action but I’m on the fence there. No question, Sam will hear crap from fans, on the field from players on his team and opposing ones. To fine a guy for what he says on his Twitter, um, I dunno. Is that right? Still, I’m glad to see Sam drafted and as I write this, Oprah is giving him his own documentary. *rolls eyes* moving on.

***There is more but these are the two that stuck out most in my mind. There’s always something to talk about in the news even if you don’t watch it.

Interracial Reality

129“We need more positive role models on television showing black on black love in its best form.”

 “Why aren’t there any minority same race couples represented anywhere in the media?”

 “Why do black men feel they must go get a white woman when they are successful?”

 “…no positive examples to showcase who we really are.  No examples to show other Black gays of what a secure, functional, stable, happy relationship looks like. No examples for the Black gay male youth to strive towards when it comes to what a positive gay long term relationship resembles.” From Cypher Avenue Article referenced below.120

Greetings readers.

This is Veronica again with an article about mixed race couples. If you checked in on me yesterday, I posted some beautiful real life pictures of mixed race couples. Those pictures I found on Facebook on pages like Intergaycial and Black Women Love White Men Period. Those four pictures depict beautiful couples who’ve hopefully found their true love, and yet some people have a problem with it.

Why?

69I’ll tell you what spurs this on. Articles like this one on Cypher Avenue website where the journalist speaks about gay black athletes and interracial relationships. See the piece here. The author of this article sites examples of athletes who were or are in interracial relationships and how there aren’t enough positive examples of black male couples.

They speak of Michael Sam, for one, who recently came out and is shown with a Caucasian male who might’ve been his boyfriend. In the article, the author says he isn’t against interracial relationships but he’d like to see more black gay couples portrayed in society.

Again, he states that he isn’t against it but would like to see…

Yes, I get that sir, but as you stated in the article, you can’t expect the media to do what you want. Television and film does what the masses want or rather what they feel is reality. A lot of minority characters on the small and big screens play up to stereotypes like the angry black man, the ditzy blond, the weak minded Asian, the overly femme gay man, etc. A lot of what these writers do is put whatever they feel is closest to reality in their shows so positive same race couples of Latino or black decent won’t happen.943305_10151669009669974_230856303_n

And I have to ask, why is this a big deal? I mean, isn’t America, in particular turning into more of a melting pot? We have a black President for one, who is the product of an interracial marriage. Still, many in the country have an issue with him just because of that. Why must we continue to make race a bigger issue than it is? With conversations like these, we won’t move forward. We aren’t respecting people’s differences and in my mind, we’re indirectly saying we don’t want race mixing.

390573_10151669007794974_1858322491_nWhy can’t we love who we want without these kinds of talks? You say your reality is being around all black people in couples. Perhaps that’s what you chose to surround yourself with but, my reality is different. Mine is to be around people who love one another regardless if they’re of mixed or same race. If you have your preference, fine but again, when will we start squashing the outcries like the ones above? Can we not just move on from the race talk entirely? In my opinion, if we keep on saying things like this, we’ll always be stuck in a rut as far as race relations. We need to learn to be more accepting towards people as well as their preferences. 71

 

If your reality is all the same race, then I believe you need to step out into the true real world and live. Love is love, regardless of color, gender, religion, or nationality. Stop hating on those who found love outside of their race and let them live their lives and you live yours for you!