Thursday, July 3, 2014

I Am Your Lord and Master Beta


I was recently reading some of the reviews for Opening Act (breaking Rule No. 1 of Authordom, I know) when I stumbled across someone calling the hero a “clueless idiot.” I wasn’t mad. I really couldn’t be mad. In fact, I cracked up laughing! You know why? Because he is a clueless idiot. Alpha heroes who are completely confident of their abilities to woo and win fair ladies are all well and good, but sometimes you’ve just got to write a beta hero…and, not only that, but a a doofus-y, has-no-idea-what’s-in-front-of-him beta hero. Adam Harper, 25-year-old blue-collar bartender and bass player certainly fits that bill.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

OPENING ACT Release Day + Blog Tour!

It's here: the day my novella, Opening Act, releases from Entangled Publishing! Yayayayayay!



Reporter Saroj Shah has been in love with bass player and bartender Adam Harper since her first day of college—seven years ago. Forever thinking of her as part-friend and part-little sister, he’s just been too blind, and too clueless, to see it. Until one pivotal moment pulls her into the spotlight.

The moment Saroj steps on stage, Adam sees his friend in a new light. He can’t take his mind off of her and realizes they could make beautiful music together. But seven years is a long time and Saroj is ready to move on. Adam will have to hit the right note if he wants to prove to Saroj he was worth the wait.


Only 99 cents! Buy now: Amazon  Barnes & Noble  iTunes  Kobo

I will be blog touring through June 6 with my buddy Audra North, whose Healing Her Heart is also out today.

Today is the first stop, at Read Your Writes, where I talk about using what you know to write what your characters feel.

Check out the full blog tour schedule here

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Le Sheikh C'est Chic? Not So Much!


Valentino and Agnes Ayres, The Sheik

Rudolph Valentino played The Sheik in 1921, based on a 1919 novel by Edith Maude Hull. Almost one hundred years later, swarthy men in flowing robes are still wooing the ladies and bending them to their lusty will in the pages of Harlequin and Mills & Boon category romances. Whodathunkit? As much a sexy captivity narrative as the noble savage Native American romances that authors like Cassie Edwards made bank on, sheikh romances have prevailed where other outdated, racist, colonial tropes have died. Neither rain nor snow nor 9/11 nor the Iraq war have killed this plot. Why?

Why aren’t sheikh romances tagged and shelved as interracial romances? Because, to a large extent, they aren’t. They are a white, Judeo-Christian woman’s fantasy as much as a sparkling vampire or an alphahole billionaire, largely written by and for that market. In essence, a sheikh is not real. Stripped of all true cultural markers — namely practicing Islam — pale on the book covers, bowled over by the first fiery western woman they see… this is the rhetoric. This is the narrative. And it serves only one audience — certainly not the pseudo-minority culture it portrays.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Multicultural Fiction Is Not a Monolith

As I follow publishing trends for both my day job and my budding career as a romance writer, I'm always fascinated by reader/reviewer/publisher response to genre fiction written by writers of color — primarily women of color, but men as well. Nowhere else, except perhaps in LGBT fiction, will you find that we are all judged together. Someone reads one bad book by an author of color and, all of a sudden, you don't know if you can read another one. Or, one book by an author of color didn't hit, so we're not going to publish someone else.

Did that happen with Fifty Shades of Grey? No. With the plethora of lackluster New Adult novels that followed Easy? The motorcycle club books that hit the shelves after Kristen Ashley hit it big? I can't recall seeing people fear that the next book might suck. No, if anything, the subsequent titles were snapped up like Chex Mix at a Super Bowl party. And even if some titles are less than thrilling, people keep buying. Publishers keep publishing.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

On Idris Elba, Tom Hiddleston, Race and Shame


I learned a lot this past week about perception, language and who has the right to the floor when it comes to speaking about such issues.

As a woman of color growing up in a small Midwestern town and an intellectually liberal but socially conservative family, I did all of my radical growth in private. My sexy books, my rebellious phase with tattoos, my first taste of a wine cooler. It was only when I moved out of the house I grew up in that I began to become more comfortable giving voice to what I liked, what I desired. And, goodness, I have always loved innuendo. I have been punning and perving since long before “That’s what she said” became a catch phrase. Because it was the only way I knew how to channel things inside me that were still culturally taboo. “I can’t do it, but I’m sure as hell gonna talk about it!”