Saturday, March 14, 2015

Spilling Tea, Choking on Silence and Perhaps Burning Bridges

I'm not a bestselling author. I'm not a degree-holding academic feminist who purports to validate the romance genre by reading it. I'm an author and reader of color who grew up with a certain amount of upper middle class and model minority privilege — none of which holds any weight in the publishing industry. Because, you see, like most of my fellow writers of color, I am invisible.

The past few weeks saw Stephanie Dray, a white author of historical fiction, "joking" about writing Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemings BDSM romance. Women of color expressed hurt on Twitter, and those issues were later outlined more extensively in the blogosphere here and here. Dray made sure to seek absolution from well-known authors like Courtney Milan, Mary Robinette Kowal and Jenny Trout, and Beverly Jenkins lauded her for her apology. Ultimately the fracas became centered on Trout, Anne Rice and Jaid Black. Slavery and rape were forgotten. The black women hurt by the comments were forgotten. White authors with a bigger followings were having some feelings, so that took precedence.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Suleikha's Top Five Bangable Cartoon Creatures

I don't know if this speaks to the secret furry we all have inside of us, but let's face it: There are some fictional critters that are highly bangable. You'd hit that, I'd hit that, we would all hit that...and probably not ever talk about it to our friends and family. (Twitter, however, would hear all about it.) It's just because of the way these human-like characters were crafted — with charm, sensuality, charisma and sometimes a prehensile tail. We can't help ourselves.

I'm not here to judge. Just to call 'em like I see 'em.

1. Disney's Robin Hood. Forever and always. How would you not want to ooda-lolly all day with this mischievous fox? You know his arrow will always find its target. No other Robin Hood is as foxy as this one. Sorry Kevin Costner, Sorry Errol Flynn, sorry Jonas Armstrong. I'd apologize to Russell Crowe, but I like to pretend that movie didn't happen.

Monday, December 22, 2014

Flash Ficlet: "The Test Flight"

I think it's safe to blame this wee bit of free flash fiction on authors Amy Jo Cousins, Olivia Kelly and Laura Curtis, and a Twitter discussion that sprang up between us after this picture of Indian pilots arriving in the UK in 1940 came across my tweet stream.

I'm not a historical romance writer by any means, but who can resist a good story prompt...or a good pilot?

(Spoiler alert: You're about to find out...)

Friday, December 19, 2014

Free Ficlet/Extra: Seva and Shine

It's been a long time since I've written in the Bollywood Confidential universe, but this week I was struck with the urge to return to two favorite characters from Bollywood and the Beast.

I hope you enjoy this free, original short.


Ashraf watched Kamal unhook the last rope of tiny twinkle lights, his long-fingered and capable hands sifting through the tangles and knots with ease. Diwali had long since come and gone, but they’d kept the haveli lit up for Rocky, who was flying back and forth to Mumbai for a film shoot. Because, as his brother Taj was constantly pointing out, she brightened every room.

“She should be welcomed home every time with the same light.”

Bhai, when did you turn into a chocolate hero? Are you sure you are feeling okay?”

“Shut up, Ashu. Better hero than zero, na?”

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Help Break the Beast's Curse: Dollars Against Depression

I've been pretty candid about how I've spent years grappling with depression and anxiety. And in the wake of Robin Williams' death — with the ever-increasing need for selfcare and vigilance — I really wanted to do something other than just incessantly tweet and blog about my experiences. I wanted to help!

Then I remembered that wrote my depression into Bollywood and the Beast. It was part of how I tried to heal from one of my low periods. Secondary character Ashraf — Ashu — fights on-page with the darkness of a disease he can't handle and trauma he can't get past without help. In many ways, what he goes through is the real "beast" of the story. Critics have said it takes away from the main plot line — and that's probably true. Depression's certainly taken a lot from my main plot line. But I don't want it to take too much more. No, I want it to give.

So, from August until the end of October — Depression Awareness Month — 100 percent of all net royalties I earn from Bollywood and the Beast will be donated to The Trevor Project, which provides crisis intervention and suicide counseling for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender youth.

Help me help others, or just help spread the word.

Bollywood and the Beast is an e-book, available at all major e-tailers.

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