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.


*screeching brakes*


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What has Changed since June 2014?

*taps mic* 

Is this thing on?

As I said in my last post, it’s been almost 3 years since I posted on the Veronica site. No fault of this muse. Grrrrl, I told her … *laughs* Anyway, yes, it’s been a while and in that timeframe what have we seen?

  1. New President. UGH don’t get me started
  2. Inequality coming to the forefront
  3. The racist roaches coming out the woodwork
  4. More awareness of whitewashing in books, TV, and movies
  5. Black Lives Matter

The list goes on and on. And yet, men are STILL walking around with their pants hanging off their asses. TELL ME WHY THIS IS STILL A THING!

*clears throat*

Yes, there has been a lot of changes. I believe the biggest thing has to be the awareness or the “woke” thing. I myself have gone through a sort of metamorphosis because things still aren’t equal or fair in the world and it’s got to change.

Like now would be excellent.

The new political climate is scary at best. When my rights as a woman are being decided by a bunch of stinky old white men, there is a problem. Not only that, the government is putting their noses where they don’t belong. They claim to be Christian, but they aren’t. You can’t use religion for your backwards ideals. It doesn’t work that way.

And then, there’s those roaches. Thank you social media for bringing these clowns out the woodwork. You might blame it on #45. Yep, I’m not going to say his name. However, it isn’t all his fault. Suddenly, people who have distinct problems with people of color are making their hatred known. White nationalist is the nice way of saying I hate everyone who isn’t white.

Yes. White supremacists. Freaking bastards.

And though I side with Black Lives Matter on some things, I don’t agree with stopping traffic on highways, not letting emergency vehicles through while they march. Nor should they be excluding people of other races who want to be allies. We need to work together. Yes, we want to tell people that we DO matter, but why will we stoop as low as the white nationalists and exclude people?

As I said on an Instagram post, you can’t demand acceptance if you yourself don’t accept others. This goes for everybody. It doesn’t mean you want equality for only blacks, whites, GLBTQ, Hispanics and not for Muslims. This isn’t selective equality. That’s what the government is doing. Those fools are picking and choosing who they want to receive benefits. More like screw the people, let’s just protect ourselves.


Only 2 years plus and so much has changed. It’s been a roller coaster and I wish to get off this hell ride and go back to sanity. The only way we can change it is by supporting equal rights organizations, marching, getting involved. Call and email your representatives, and of course when midterms come up, get out and vote these critters out of their comfy seats. We need more people in office who believe in equality for all.


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.

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


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


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.


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!


Another Post About Size

sports-illustrated-swimsuit-issue-2014-cover-revealed-01  Greetings readers. It’s been a few days and yes I know I need to finish the story. Shar’s anniversary was Monday and she was not only trying to finish a book for Rawiya but release brother Michael Mandrake’s new book on the same day. Busy woman!  Shar loves that we muses driver her nuts which we do. *snicker*

So, today’s post is about something Shar and me heard on the radio. Since Shar is a big sports fan; she listens to sports in the car while driving for her EDJ. Monday and Tuesday’s topics were about the latest swimsuit issue for Sports Illustrated and a columnists’ view on how these ladies on the cover weren’t a true representation of women.

Rick Telander, a columnist for the Sun Times and a male I might add, had a beef with the cover. Here is a link to his article. In this small blurb he argued that SI should’ve picked women with ‘better derrieres’ and that it was an ‘insult to show women with scrawny butts.’ He called them anorexic, 2 career dieters, etc. *laughs* that may or may not be true but the ladies are attractive.

In contrast, one of the hosts from the radio show called out Telander wondering why he had such a problem with it. He stated he loved the issue and that he liked seeing women whose jobs are models and how they look like cartoons. He also argued if young girls have issues with seeing this magazine then the parents have even bigger problems. Not all the time do I side with this host’s opinions but in this case I have to agree. We as people need to encourage our little girls to be proud of who they are whether they’re skinny or with junk in the trunk.  It’s not SI’s job to be conscious of what our young women’s body image is, that falls on us as parents.

There’s always been a debate over women and how magazines feature them on the cover. Often, critics have argued that theKate-Upton-Vogue-Magazine-June-2103-3 fashion world should be more open to showing plus size models and or women with curves. I used to think that too and actually I still agree to an extent. However, to say it’s a disgrace by showing these women on the cover goes a bit too far. Though skinny, they are lovely women and even if most of the female society might not be as small, we shouldn’t detract from the ladies that are smaller than us plump and fabulously voluptuous women. I think it goes both ways right? Some of these models are pressured into being smaller because even though some fashion mags and or designers have bent a little by showing more “healthier” models, by and large they still want more women who don’t have weight on them at all. Skinny ladies are under pressure too. Many of these fashion agents and or designers make unusual demands on them to stay thin just so they can walk the runway in the latest outfits. That is where the problem lies, not with SI.

So, calm down, Mr. Telander, it’s all entertainment. And I thank you for standing up for some of us “healthier” gals when talking about the cover but real women, no matter what size, know that true beauty isn’t about your waistline, it’s about how you feel as a woman and your personality.

Ladies, if you’re small like these models or pleasantly plump, be happy with yourself. And if you have daughters, little sisters, or nieces, instill in them that real beauty must come from within.

What Decade Do We Live In?

cheerios-interracial-commercial-thumb-450xauto-8283Hey readers. I’m back with another post and this time I’m talking about something that truly irks me. Now, I know everyone has a right to their opinions and you also have that same right to express those thoughts. And when things like the first cute Cheerios commercial went viral there was a backlash. So many people expressing their quote on quote opinions about the mixed raced couple and their biracial child. Cheerios didn’t back down however and did another for the Super Bowl. Good for them because it shows the company’s commitment to promoting diversity.  What happens, even more of a backlash from many saying how “wrong” it is for Cheerios to show a black man and his white wife. Wow. *shakes head* I’m sorry, how is this wrong? This commercial features a loving family with their cute little kid. Why do we have to focus on the color of the people or their child? It’s a freaking cereal ad! Why the heck are people so up in arms about it? Because, America has yet to fully embrace diversity!

That prompts me to ask, what decade are we living in? Have we entered a time warp where there will be separate doors for whites and “negroes?” Are there still places where no “race mixing” is allowed? Well, actually there is and they exist all over the United States. Many say we’ve gotten over racism when we elected a black President. Nope, uh-uh, not even close. We may have made strides but there is truly much further to go when people allow a commercial as harmless as this one to upset them.

And what about my own situation? Or actually, Shar’s? She’s involved in a mixed marriage with a Hispanic man and her daughter is biracial. No question, her daughter will probably get teased or taunted for being part Mexican. What the heck is wrong with people? Why can’t everyone love who they want to love regardless of race? If you have a preference to date within your own, fine but don’t condemn those that want to branch out and that’s on both sides, brothers and sisters. When you see me, a black woman, strutting down the street with a fine man of another race on my arm, don’t hate, be glad for me that I found someone I could be real with.

It’s upsetting to me to still see people not accepting each this country for what it is. It is a melting pot, full of people from many countries and unique in our own ways. If God wanted everyone to be white he would’ve made it that way. And to those who think you’re a hundred percent of anything, try following your family tree. You’re most likely part European or Native American, or might even have traces of African free men or slaves in your bloodline. To assume you’re completely one race is ridiculous, ignorant, and shows a lack of understanding of what this country was supposed to be about. Leaders like Martin Luther King preached diversity for everyone regardless of race, creed, or nationality. And he might not have said sexual orientation but we need to throw that in there too. Respect one another and their differences as well as their right to love who they want. We’re in the twenty first century people; time to let go of the hate and start showing the love for your fellow man.


Just say NO to sagging pants

1Hello again readers. This is your girl Veronica with another trending post. Oh I’ll have a lot of these especially when I’m not writing fiction. Guaranteed, you shall hear my words one way or the other. I dunno if that’s bad or good but hey, if you’re here on my blog it must mean you wanna hear me talk.

So, remember how I said I was a mature woman? That means I’m forty and ninety percent of the time, I act my age. Of course, being human I do like a tad of the silliness and I’ll even give props to some of the latest fads and trends but one I cannot, no I CANNOT get with is the sagging pants! Listen, men of all ages and creeds, please pull your pants up. It is not attractive nor is it cool to wear your pants sagging off your rear end. Just who thought this style was cute and why has it lasted so long?

Unfortunately, it seems it started in the hip hop culture with many black teens wearing too big pants and letting the world see what color their underwear is however, I’ve heard it originated in the prisons, giving the signal to anyone behind bars that the person wearing them was ready for some action. Yeah you know somebody’s bitch and getting fucked in the ass? Well, why on earth would this translate to a hip style on the streets? I mean, I love some man love as much as the next person but for men who want to consider themselves straight, why would you wear your pants hanging off your butt? Just what are you trying to prove and you know, most men who do this have no butt to speak of. The belt is so tightly wound around them, it looks ridiculous.2

Gents, if you wanna show your ass, why not take it all off and become a stripper? I mean, if you’re gonna show your butt at least get paid for it. In my opinion, this style shows how you really don’t give a rat’s ass about how you look. It’s not sexy, nor is it cute and no it doesn’t make me hot.

ColinWayne19I like low riders, yep, when I can see the “v” shape beyond the jeans and they’re not wearing any undies? Hmm, on models it looks pretty hot but I don’t wanna see any man’s butt crack covered or uncovered unless we’re sleeping together. Show some respect for yourself and pull your pants up. Regardless of how cute you are, no man wearin’ their pants sagging on their ass will get past my door. I’m attracted to men who care about the way they dress not to ignoramuses who walk around liking like somebody’s bitch in prison. So, act like you give a fuck and pull up your pants.


Love is Love

Macklemore, Mary Lambert, Madonna, Ryan Lewis, Queen LatifahGood morning readers. Whew, it sure is cold but the muse gets to stay warm inside Shar’s head while she goes out into the polar vortex to make some bacon. *grins* Well, did you watch the Grammys? Shar only watched part of it but we did catch the Madonna/Mackelemore/Queen Latifah performance of “Same Love” which had everybody talkin and or bawlin.

*raises hand*

I mean, what a beautiful display of love; 33 couples some of mixed race and or gender, getting married in front of most of the who’s who in music. It was lovely and I think a great message to those in society who want to hate on the people because of their differences.

971665_10151494259226174_682410364_nNo question, me, being an African American straight woman, I do love me some men. Yep, not a lesbian bone in me even though I have been known to look at a few beauties and do a little double take. Will I act on it? No, but I don’t have a problem with people who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. And as far as the race thing, I’m a swirler. Don’t get me wrong, I love my black brothas but I lean more toward men of a difference race when I look for dates. They’re kind of a preference. Does this mean I won’t date any black men? No it doesn’t ‘cause I’m an equal opportunity lover and hell, I’m in my forties so in my opinion, one can’t be too damn picky but I do have a preference.

The point is love is love. Regardless of whether people are of different age, race, or same sex or race, it doesn’t matter. What matters is what’s on the inside first and if we’re drawn to a certain kind of man or woman then that’s okay too.

coltonford16 This really hits home for me since the man I almost married decided to come out the closet. He’s everything I wanted in a husband; he’s strong, manly, intelligent, and has a career. His name is Cleo and even though we didn’t make it to the alter he’s still my best friend. And he isn’t the gay man the media likes to portray. They’re getting better but Cleo grimaces when he sees the overly feminine, likes to go shopping, switching gay boy on television. Not all gay men are like that and Cleo definitely isn’t. And not saying there’s anything wrong with feminine men either. People are people and if that’s what makes them feel comfortable then it’s all good.

We’ll talk more about Cleo at a later time but the point is, love is love people. If everyone was the same, this world would be down right boring. If you find the right person in someone that’s of the same sex or of a different race, don’t stop it, embrace it. We know it in our hearts, just like I did with Cleo and heck, if it doesn’t turn into a commitment, wait for the next one. Hell, I’m still waiting but I won’t give up. I know there’s a good looking Mister out there who wants to be my significant other.

Shar’s inspiration for Cleo is Colton Ford