Thursday, December 27, 2012

Day 922



Blacker Than Blue is now available in paperback and ebook from Bold Strokes Books. Go ahead, spend your holiday money. Load that ereader. :)

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Day 911

Women and Words Holiday Hootenany is going strong. Today a copy of The Fling is up for grabs with a bunch of other BSB books. Go now! Win things!

Also - On Friday Better off Red and Blacker Than Blue were put up for grabs over on I didn't post about it because I was pretty much in fetal position all day. I'm pretty sure they are still available to head over there for a chance to win my vamp books as well.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 907

Suzy and Pilar finally have a cover! 

Let me stop with the finally. I wrote this thing over the summer and it already has a cover. That's some DAMN FAST turn around if you ask me. Yes, At Her Feet is a BDSM erotic romance, but the cover works very well for these characters. This story is more about emotional submission... and spankings, than floggers and crops and chains. I wanted to stay away from handcuffs or crops and the like. Suzy and Pilar are both pretty femme and Suzy, like myself, loves pink. EVERYTHING'S PINK! My publisher was nice enough to listen to all of my pink related begging. :)  I'll report back as soon as they have a release date. Here are my leading ladies if you need a reminder.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Day 900

Lots of news! Events! Awards! News! News! News!

I'll go with the part where you can win free stuff. Though, it's all pretty good.  

Starting today (DECEMBER 5th) the awesome ladies over at Smuketeers are kicking off their 12 Days of Xmas Holiday Extravaganza.

Head on over to check out holiday fun with 64 amazing romance authors, myself included. We're giving away books, too. I'll be tweeting when my day is up, but go over there now. NOW!


Starting Wednesday, December 12, 2012, Women and Words will be kicking off their 2012 Holiday Hootenanny. Everyday readers can enter to win a book from a list of great LGBT romance authors. I'll be featuredd on Day 5, giving away a copy of The Fling. 


On Thursday, January 10, 2013 I'll be participating in Book'd in Burbank, a literary social event. I'll be reading from Better Off Red. If that doesn't bring you running, there will a comedy MC, drinks and desserts. :) The drinks and desserts are what got me on board. Check out more here, courtesy of Liz D.

And lastly, the news that has me super pumped.

Elisa Reviews announced the winners of the Rainbow Awards over the weekend and TWO of my books won awards.



2nd Place (tie): BEST LESBIAN PARANORMAL/HORROR- Better Off Red

This is amazing because so many fantastic books were nominated, books I absolutely loved. I inhaled Meghan O'Brien's The Night Off and Awake Unto Me by Kathleen Knowles. I almost cried during Robin Silverman's reading of Lemon Reef. To be included is such an honor.

I'm particularly excited about Better Off Red's win for debut novel. An author can only win that type of award once in their career and to win it for a book and characters that are so close to my heart is both humbling and encouraging. 

For the complete list of winners and honorable mention recommendations check out click HERE.

I'll post again soon. There is cover art for At Her Feet in the works... ♥

Monday, October 29, 2012

Day 862

You'd think I'd forgotten all about this blog. Ha. I didn't. I've just been busy. I'll skip the details and jump right to the news.

Blacker Than Blue is days away from going to press. I had a hell of time editing it and I have to say I think I could write at least four stories for Benny and Cleo. I love them as a couple. :) In January, right before its release, I'll be doing a book/t-shirt giveaway, so keep your eyes peeled if you like winning stuff.

Once that was done and off to the magical land of paperbacks and ebooks, I finished my first/final round of revisions of At Her Feet. If you've been following my blog, you might be asking what At Her Feet is. Well, my publisher was happy to buy Suzy & Pilar off my hands, but after batting some ideas around, we went with a title change. At Her Feet should be out some time near fall 2013. I think. I'll report back when I know for sure.

And that's it, really. I'm working on some non-romance related things. I might take a class. You're never too old to further your education. When I get back to the romancing, I have two hetero romances I want to write and then there's the next Vampire Sorority Sister novel to research, write and then beg my publisher to buy. I'll report back when I have concrete plans. In the meantime, Happy NaNoWriMo for everyone participating. I'll leave you with Melanie Fiona's Stop My Heart. I heard it in Crate&Barrel last week and now I'm obsessed with her. ♥

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Day 797

I love having guests especially when it means I don't have to vaccuum or do the dishes. Ruth Diaz is stopping by today to talk about sex and her new novella The Superheroes Union: Dynama. EVERYONE BE NICE!


The Elephant in the Room: Sex in Writing and Cultural Baggage

I'll never forget telling my mother that I had decided to write romance, or possibly just erotic fiction. She didn't say anything supportive about it, though she was supportive of the attempt. Instead, she made a request. She asked me to write under a pseudonym. This isn't as harsh as it may sound. For one thing, erotic romances and other erotic fiction are often written under a pseudonym. I had already decided to use a different name for this type of writing. For another thing, well, my mother was born in the middle of the last century in the middle of the Midwest in the middle of nowhere. There were only five students in her graduating class. She did not have what you'd think of as a cosmopolitan upbringing, and even if her attitudes toward sex don't much reflect that anymore, her brothers and sisters and parents send nieces and nephews have all grown from the same roots.

Sex is one of those subjects you don't discuss between generations, let alone in a coed environment. Probably not even in an all-female environment, not without blushing and speaking from behind a concealing a hand, or perhaps in the context of humor. It wasn't that she wanted to restrict what I might write. But she never wanted to be in the position of having to explain it to our extended family.

Sex is a part of life. Most of us admit it, even in my small-town, Midwestern, extended family. As a matter of fact, we're bombarded by sexual imagery in media and advertising on a day-to-day basis. We don't necessarily discuss that with other people, but most of us don't deny it. On good days, we aren't even embarrassed by it unless someone actually implies we're having sex. (Even if we are.)

 I am sex-positive. I respect and understand the choices of people prefer not to consider themselves that way. But I, personally, am sex-positive. Writing sex scenes does not automatically reflect sex-positivity, though, any more than admitting that sex is perfectly natural means my relatives are comfortable discussing it. One of the challenges I faced in writing The Superheroes Union: Dynama was writing from a sex-positive point of view while staying true to my heroines...neither of whom considers herself sex-positive.

 In the end, I decided the most sex-positive thing I could do for the story was address sex as realistically as possible, despite some of the underlying wish-fulfillment that makes romance what it is. My heroines talked to each other about safer sex--maybe later than they should have! They didn't use sex toys, not because they had any reason not to, but because Dynama's twins found the one in her underwear drawer when they were four, with predictably bad results, and she decided to do without until they were old enough to understand privacy.

Both my heroines see their bodies as flawed, because body image in Western culture tends to be so artificial right now, very few women measure up to their own expectations. But they see each other as beautiful, each taking joy in the other's body, even if neither is sure she takes joy in her own. Dynama's superhero costume covers her from neck to ankles, and the only character who runs around with a superhero emblem on her boobs is the Invincible Woman, who deliberately put it there as a target.

 In the end, I didn't break any new ground for portrayals of sex in fiction in The Superheroes Union: Dynama, and my relatives still mostly don't ask about that romance they knew I was writing. But I've refused to pretend there's no sex in it; and I've managed to give both my heroines full ownership of their bodies, their sexual preferences, and their sex lives.

 In a dreadful social moment in the US where everything from men's hair product commercials to the Republican Party's 2012 platform is trying to take women's sexuality and place it firmly in the hands of men, that may just be the most sex-positive thing I could do.

How do you feel about sex in romance, and does that have any relationship to how you feel about sex in the rest of your life? And seriously, has any woman seen that Axe commercial with the dismembered boobs and disembodied hair and not wanted to throw something at her television? Visit my blog for the swag giveaway! Comment to win a Superheroes Union totebag or T-shirt.

What if your evil ex really was evil? TJ Gutierrez used to be a superhero. But after the birth of her twins seven years ago, she hung up the yellow spandex. Until the day her archenemy and ex-husband, Singularity, breaks out of prison. When it becomes clear he’s after the kids, she’s forced to call the nanny helpline—and once again become...Dynama! Annmarie Smith doesn’t have a superpower. She saves the world by keeping kids safe while their parents fight evil. She temporarily moves in with TJ, and the way the magnetic mama puts family first captures Annmarie’s respect, and maybe her heart—even though she knows better than to fall for a superhero. Still, it’s hard to resist their wicked chemistry. Kapow! But they can only hide from the world for so long. When Singularity’s quest for custody puts the kids’ lives in danger, can the two women conquer the evil villain and save TJ’s family—all before their first date? The Superheroes Union: Dynama is available from Carina Press. You can read an excerpt here. Carina Press store | |

Ruth Diaz writes genre romances about non-mainstream relationships. She hides a number of publications in a different genre under another name, but The Superheroes Union: Dynama is her first romance publication. For more information, you can subscribe to her blog, like her on Facebook, or follow @RuthDiazWrites on Twitter (where she is most active and, well, opinionated).

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Day 758

First let me say, I'm having trouble picking a Tokyo/Miyoko for my Vampire Sorority Series. Check out this post here if you want to give me your two pennies worth of opinion. I need feedback people.

Updates!!!! Here's where I've been. Here's what I've been doing.

- The Advocate Magazine asked lil old me to contribute to this month's I Advocate section. Seeing myself in a magazine period is amazing. Being featured in The Advocate is just mind blowing. Pick up a copy on newsstands now. :) 

- I was also featured over at Romance Cooks, sharing a recipe that always makes me think of my vampire queen Camila from Better Off Red. Check it out. Make some cookies.

- I'm taking FOREVER to edit Suzy & Pilar. I'm not under a deadline with it so I'm taking my sweet ass time. Eeeep.

- Next week (July 25, and 26) I'll be loitering at the annual RWA conference in Anaheim. If you're there and you see me, say hi. I'm wicked nice. Really.

- I also realized that I missed the two year mark for this blog. Ooops. I'll do a big TWO YEAR post soon. Feel free to listen to my new favorite song while you wait.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Day 736

even in small town New Hampshire, look at this diversity.
So I went home for a wedding. A good friend of mine from elementary school married a great guy. They served bottomless lemonade mojitos. Really, it was great. I got to see my parents. I met a friend's newborn and was over the moon that the kid isn't ugly. I slept like the dead in my high school bed. Our local bookstore, Water Street Bookstore had me down to sign copies of The Fling.

My mom bought me three books because she's awesome. My dad and I hung out and watched Jerry Springer. I ate a lot of food and didn't gain a pound. I went out drinking with my great guy friends. I found myself on the beach THREE TIMES! I came up with a wellness plan with my best friend. She also helped me brainstorm character and plot points for my next book because she too is awesome. I went for walks and spent time with my neighbors who treat me like one of their own.

Here's what I didn't do - I didn't write. I didn't write a good goddamn thing. I'll be honest and say I left my laptop at my apartment. One less thing to deal with while going through security. I thought about writing on my phone while I was sitting on my parents' couch, but when Springer's on and you've got a good book in your lap, it's just asking a whole lot to dig back into your own story. That required brain cells I wasn't willing to give up. When I got back to L.A. it took me DAYS to find my stride again. Finally, last Friday I was able to get myself back together. I've since squeezed out 10,000 words on Suzy & Pilar. The last scene I worked on was a tough one, but I finished it and pushed on to a great sex scene that flowed rather smoothly. Now I think I'm in the homestretch. I might even finish it this weekend. Maybe.

In other news, with the end of season two of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, I sat down and watched every episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender. And then The Legend of Korra premiered and I feel like it's taken up so much space in my heart. So much space. I might love her more than the ponies. If you've seen my tumblr, you know.

In other other new, even though I knew about it, I feel I've officially discovered Korean Pop music. Or K-Pop. I'm now obsessed with Girls' Generation aka SNSD. This song will definitely be on Suzy & Pilar's playlist. Good times.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Day 706

Okay, so the other day I said I wasn't going to blog at length about BDSM here. JUST KIDDING!

In working on Suzy & Pilar, I've been thinking a lot about how I want their relationship to come across to a reader who knows nothing about the kinky lifestyle. I want to tell an honest story that balances the joys of expressing ones sexuality and the challenges one might face when that sexual life clashes with your real/professional life. I'm also tackling Suzy's struggle to balance the joys of being with Pilar and keeping her own well-being at the forefront of her priorities.

But that's only part of the reason I'm talking about it here and yes it has to do with writing about race. In a way. See, I love to read BDSM novels. I have nearly worn the covers of my Sleeping Beauty series, but a lot of the stories I've read leave me scratching my head. I find characters doing things that I honestly find unsafe and a little nuts. Not in a "oh I would never let someone hang me from the rafters by my nipples" sort of way, but in a "wait don't you worry about your actual safety, your actual mental health?" kind of way.

I've read about a lot of Doms, male and female, who are just assholes. Not dominant lovers, but pure assholes that use intimidation and circumstance to get their partners to submit. Most of these pairings have involved white couples. A few have involved mixed races couples, but the Dom is always white. I don't do assholes. These issues have been rolling around in my head for some time, in fiction and in real life as I've heard horror stories about such Doms, but yesterday writer Mikki Kendall, who you should follow really just cause, started a discussion on women of color (WOC) and BDSM kink. (women of color includes all non-white women). The discussion does appear to be centering around WOC as submissives at this point, though there are many non-white Dommes in the community as well. In Blacker Than Blue I write a black Mistress in control of a white submissive. It's a very loving relationship, I promise. I try not to apply my own experiences and thoughts to others. Everyone's sex life is different, but what Mikki and the others who responded to her post, had to say really struck a cord with me. Here is Mikki's original post and my response.
I’ve been reading all of the talk around 50 Shades of Grey, & noting how often developing a BDSM relationshionship in romantica/erotica is written as though sex comes before trust & then running into convos on & offline that center around the idea that kink is something white women do. That being sex positive is a movement that requires you to discuss your sex life with all & sundry & be white to boot or you’re a problem & not a person.
Somehow the fact that WOC not only have kinky sex, but enjoy it is a hard concept for some folks to grasp. And things get more complicated when you factor in our high rates of sexual assault, violence, & cultural norms that mean our sexuality is often something we share with partners but not with the public for our own safety. WOC can figure as props in the sexual fantasies of others, but people seem to think that we don’t deserve any agency over ourselves for our own pleasure. And that makes conversations about sex in general & kink in specific really hard to have, especially when it comes to kink, how WOC may choose to engage in it & whether or not we utilize the same spaces for connections as white people.
Our voices are erased from so many media outlets (see the casual moments of racism in 50 Shades of Grey and how little has been said about that), and what we speak of when we do speak to each other is often not for public consumption. But not talking to or for outsiders isn’t the same as not talking at all.
So, let’s talk about what it means to stand at the corner of Madonna/Whore as Mammy/Jezebel & how that impacts our expressions of our sexuality. Let’s talk about why sites like Fetlife being underpopulated with WOC doesn’t mean WOC aren’t interested in kink. And let’s talk about what a cultural history of being unrapeable legally might do to the idea of sexual freedom. If we’re seen as whores from birth regardless, what do we do to own our sexuality? How do we navigate kink in our minds & with our bodies? How do we find partners & what do we disclose & when? For those of us in kinky relationships, what does it mean to play? Do we attend munches/classes/parties? Are those environments safe for us? And what about things like race play, how do we reconcile ourselves to that if it is or isn’t part of our kink?
ive given this issue a lot of thought recently. my kink life started with a connection with one person, not through a munch, or a play party, or an online link up on a kink website. ive since attended play parties and munches and joined kink websites and i have to say not many of these places are spaces that make WOC feel safe and this is a problem. a KEY element of the BDSM lifestyle is trust. ive been approached by many white men because of their attraction to my picture. these are the same white men who chose to ignore that fact i am already taken. this information is right next to that picture. these are the same white men who collect black female submissives on fetlife and the same men who think that my fantasies involve being treated like the “black beast that i am”. its crazy. its backward, and for me, it’s not safe.
as i read more erotic fiction, fiction that starts with intense bondage scenes after a two second conversation between strangers im left thinking, who the hell is conducting their sex life like this. i know its fantasy. i know its fiction, but what message is it sending to people outside of the lifestyle. there’s a different between getting off on pain and putting your life in danger. if you met a guy in a bar would you really just go home with him and let him tie you up? no? then would you do it just because he says he’s a Dom? or because he’s rich? or because he seems to know what’s best for you? that’s crazy. that’s not BDSM. that’s abuse.
here’s the thing about submission, if im going to give my mind AND my body to you, i have to know that you are interested in me as a person. i have to know that you are looking for the signs that i am being pushed too far and not because you don’t want to be accused of rape or that you might literally break me. i need to know what you are respecting me, loving me and doing everything you can to help us both express our sexual needs. and you need to know that simply saying “you look so sexy dear” wont make my legs fall open.
this is nearly impossible if you make it known before i have even given you that trust that your only desire is procuring a WOC for your stock. that shit is not gonna fly. i live my life with my safety at the forefront of my day to day. i don’t trust strangers. i face enough danger as is. do you know how afraid i am to get pulled over by LAPD? i don’t need to be bound and naked when that danger makes itself evident.
i’ve been pretty open about my kink life online, but the details aren’t for anyone but me and my partner. does that mean im not a legit member of the community? no. its just means i don’t want to talk to strangers about what exactly i do in my private time. you know why? because strangers like to take the little bits of information they do know about you, like the size of your cleavage or the color your skin, and use it to make judgements and further assumptions. they use that information to create their own fantasy with your image at the center (or most likely at the periphery) and that’s the wrong foot to start on.
so for me it’s definitely relationship first, kink second. i can put the kink on hold if my partner isn’t into it, but i can’t put my well-being on hold just to get off. i say this because there are people in the lifestyle and people interested in the lifestyle who take the approach the other way around.

There was further discussion by other readers about the politics of being a WOC and being whipped by a white Dom in public forum, being paraded around as black chattel, etc, things that would test me far beyond my mental comfort zone. I must note that I have been in interracial relationships my whole romantic life and I guess technically I'm in one now. I don't think that all non-POC are looking to degrade WOC like it's their job. I'm saying it the actions of few that are ruining it for many.

Obviously my life is something I take seriously, but when I write I take my characters and their experiences seriously too. If other WOC don't approach BDSM in a way that the larger collection of BDSM fiction is portraying then there is a disconnect, one that I can't ignore. I'm still thinking this through. I'm wondering how and if the community will evolve, but I'm sharing this as food thought, for characters, and audience, and the people around you. 

You can read more replies below in the notes. Click Here.
Mikki's Twitter

Friday, May 18, 2012

Day 694

I'm working on something a little different. A lot of my stories will have elements of domination and submission. Benny's book Blacker Than Blue will center around her D/s relationship with her vampire. When I get around to writing Kina's book she will prove to be quite the sexual Dominant in her relationships. Right now I'm working on a story that I'm calling Suzy & Pilar. I've picked Jamaican-Korean actress Tae Heckard for Suzy and Sara Ramirez for Pilar.

This story deals with a Mommy/little girl, D/s relationship. Since BDSM talk is not something everyone is comfortable with, I've written a much longer post on the story and posted it on my tumblr - Keep in mind that my tumblr is 18+/NSFW. Swing over there and check it out.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 689

I was on the Cocktail Hour as a guest on their podcast.


Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Day 658

It's officially my book birthday again! Weee! The Fling hits shelves nation/internet wide today. Here are the other titles Bold Strokes Books is putting out today, all available in print and ebook. I've highlighted the titles I've read so far and both were excellent. :)

Burgundy Betrayal by Sheri Lewis-Wohl - Paranormal Lesbian Romance

LoveLife by Rachel Spangler - Contemporary Lesbian Romance

Ill Will by Jean Redmann - Mystery (lesbian)

Buccaneer Island by J.P. Beausejour - Gay Pirate Erotica

Twelve O'Clock Tales by Felice Picano - Collection of Short Stories

Murder in Rue St Chartres by Greg Herren - Mystery (gay)


This video has nothing to do with anything, but I love this song. Usher's new "jam" Climax. 

Fellow author Rachel Spangler does occassional blog posts where she shares the search terms that have brought people to her site. I usually share mine with her, but now I'll share them with you. Here are the results for the last 30 days.

rebekah weatherspoon - this makes complete sense

rapunzel boobs - posted one picture from Tangled and her boobs were not out.

oksana - i wonder if people were searching for pornstars or figure skaters of the same name

annie adderall - were they looking for a girl who deals Rx's named Annie

butters love - again one picture of Butters and here we are.

cute innocent brunette white guys - i love that someone is looking for this in general, but they didn't find it here

el mac - i worship the man and he's hyperlinked on my Extra's page so this makes sense.

looking for my childhood bedtime story book from 50's or 60's big red book - o_O

my little pony friendship is magic rainbow - we all know what this is about.

rebekah weatherspoon author - another no brainer.

A few months ago I had several searches for boob related topics. these seem a little boring.
And for no reason at all, here is my take on HBO's new show, Girls. I posted this on  my tumblr yesterday, but I'm sharing it here to keep from driving people unnecessarily toward tons of nude photos.
so here are my thoughts on #GIRLS AT THIS VERY MOMENT, as I am sure they will evolve.
i’ll get this out of the way first (since there's been a lot of chatter about in the twittersphere). i NEVER expected there to be any sort of diversity on this show. ever. look at the poster. so i’m not upset that there was one WOC who scored one line and will never be seen again since Hannah no longer works with her. And i’m not upset that in NYC there was one black walking down the street. i am not upset by this because it is EXACTLY what i expected. my bar was set real low on the diversity scale.

as with the New Girl, and Don’t Trust The B in APT 23 and even 30 Rock, we are seeing a continuation of a new female figure on our televisions. The quirky brunette is the new dumb blond. her large breasts and wide eyes have been replaced by glasses and one liners. that in mind, GIRLS is not some new feminist take on the 20 something. these girls are not kicking ass and taking names. they are barely taking care of themselves. they are not even respecting themselves. seriously. all 4 of them are taking it pretty hard to the face.

characters: i know nothing of Lena Dunham, but as with many in Apatow’s camp i am sure parts of this are autobiographical. PARTS as Dunham is 25 with a show on HBO, soooo…
Hannah is interesting. she’s of average intelligence. she’s of average wit. And its stops there. she doesn’t do anything entirely smart. the whole episode people walk all over her as she says witty things and when her parents cut her off she throws a temper tantrum. as someone who has received financial assistance from my parents at this point in my life, okay i get it. but my dad helped me keep my car from getting repo’d. he wasn’t supporting my ENTIRE life as Hannah’s parents are. she’s been working an internship for a good clip.

Hannah’s friends:  i don’t know any of their names. they all blended together.
  • roommate/most attractive girl is in a relationship with the most attractive guy on the show, who she is not attracted to but refuses to break up with him because of reasons? mostly she doesnt want him to go all Lloyd Dobler on her, but that seems to be the only reason.
  • british friend is british. so far that’s all i got. she’s pregnant, but the way these girls are and the way they are living, i dont see them binding together to raise a baby. there might be a trip to the clinic in her future
  • over-zealous friend has terrible lines written for her. we all know that hyper, wants to be liked girl, but some of this chick’s dialogue didn’t make sense. like no one would actually say some of the things she says to another person.
  • the fuck buddy-Adam. he treats Hannah like crap and she lets him. parts of this i get and parts i don’t, mostly because it FEELS like a plot device. we’ll see how she handles him.
  • hannah’s parents. there’s not much to say here. they cut her off and expect her to fend for herself. this is totally cool, but you would think that parents who spoil their kid this much who have some sort of convo with this kid about how they can get on their own two feet. this doesn’t happen. her mother just keeps yelling GET A JOB!
overall, i liked the feel of the show. it highlights how things are for a section of America’s 20 somethings at the moment, albeit 20 somethings i would never actually want to spend time with. it rings of Sex and The City 2.0, but less campy and way less sexy.

Lena Dunham stars, writes, directs and produces this show. my fear is that so much of her is in this project that we will be forced deeper and deeper into her limited scope. i don’t feel there will all that much satisfaction at the end of the road, but we’ll see.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Day 642

I thought I posted this, but I didn't. I did an interview with the awesome Carsen Taite while we were in Palm Springs. I talk about The Fling and Better Off Red a little. Good times.

The Fling is available now. Scoop it up. Tell your mom.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Day 640

The Fling is out today!

Print and eBook

I've been told I've "wrapped a seriously sweet story inside some blazing, hot sex". I'll take that. :) If you want to check out Annie and Oksana and little sister Kat, go here. Be Warned, picture are 18+. Happy Friday!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Race and Fiction

Day 632: Today, I'm talking about race. Sorry if that makes you uncomfortable, but that's just what I do around here.

Here is my disclaimer: I am about to address the INCLUSION of People of Color. NOT, I REPEAT, NOT the exclusion of white people. INCLUSION!

So you might be wondering why I'm talking about race. This isn't about Trayvon Martin, though I'll get back to him. I've been wanting to talk about this for a while now, but yesterday I was pushed to it. I was in a chat on twitter and there was talk about writing characters of color/non-white characters. I did not start this discussion. And the general response was "I, as an author, do not write characters of color because I am afraid of presenting a racial stereotypes that people will find offensive." This is not the first time I have heard this response.

Okay. Valid argument. No one wants to offend people, most of the time. And yes there are portrayal of people of color out there, but I am terrified to think that Tyler Perry speaks for me and it makes me sick to my stomach to think that Kathryn Stockett speaks for my grandmothers. So what are we left with if not the stereotypes? Omission. Here's the problem with complete omission, when you leave characters of color out (the same can be said of gay and lesbian characters, characters of varying gender identities, etc.), they no longer exist in your world. When they don't exist in your world, they don't exist in the reader's world. This is dangerous, especially for people who are only exposed to diversity through books, film and television. Just as dangerous as the stereotypes and in cases, more harmful.

Now when the reader sees themselves on the page, there is an instant connection to that character. Other people see me. Other people acknowledge that I exist, that I have thoughts and feelings and value. I loved She's Come Undone by Wally Lamb because he wrote about an overweight girl in an honest, real way. BTW Wally Lamb has never been an overweight girl. He took the time to write how difficult it is to be overweight and how one may find themselves overweight in the first place. He nailed it.

The current standard is the brunette, doe eyed, young white female between the ages of 15 and 26 who seems to be the focus of EVERY book, movie and television show. I have nothing against this, but I am against every other girl being left out. I am against the only portrayal of African American youth in the last five years being the drug dealing kids of The Wire, the kind of portrayal that leads to deaths like Trayvon's. I'm against Amber Riley having to play the teenage version of the fat, sassy black woman.

I was raised in a very warm, two parent home in Southern New Hampshire. Both of my parents are well educated, community minded people. My father, in particular raised me, not to be color blind, but to be kind and respectful of all people. As a kid I watched as he spoke with strangers and neighbors, and you know what, my father treated everyone the same. Teenagers, children, the elderly, his peers, even people who annoyed the hell out of him (I know his "I'm pissed off" face though others don't) with the same respect. A lot, and I mean A LOT, of people love my father. The things I've heard said about him would bring most people to movie of the week tears. As a father to four black children in a white town he NEVER made race an issue. He taught us to behave as any parent should. He taught us the importance of studying hard and in a timely fashion, even though this message didn't really sink in for me until I hit college. He took us to James Taylor concerts.

Here's the thing, my father could have made race an issue. He grew up during the 50's and 60's. He lived through segregation. His parents and his grandmother who had a hand in raising him, lived through worse. But not once did I ever see any sort of angry black man chip on my father's shoulder. He's the same way to this day and I think, even better because age has just made him wiser and even more understanding of the world around him and yes, people continue to love him.

This was my spring board. When I hit elementary school, I went out into the world with this mentality: treat people the same. And I did. I bounced between different social groups right up to college and in that time, I dealt with racism from another kid exactly once. He dropped the N bomb and I let him know about himself, but that's another story. I had a friend ask me some silly things about my hair, but it was innocent ignorance and I love her dearly.

I did, however, face racism from adults. I've had adults and, yes they were white, pull my hair as they asked me what it felt like. And yes this is racist. Treating little black girl the way you would treat dog is racist. I have had a girl tell me her mother didn't think she should use our toilet because she would get AIDS. I'll let you marinate on that for a moment. There were countless other instances that don't need to be rehashed, but it was the adults in my life who exhibited the most ignorant, racist behavior. As I've gotten older, I've seen that racism is taught. It trickles down. I have seen it with my own eyes. How do we change this? We work from the bottom up. Now I'm not stupid enough to think that racism will ever disappear completely. It's a global issue. People thrive of superiority and separation. But things can be made better and we start with the images we show our children.

When I was a kid I was most often compared to Missy Elliot. She was big and black. I was big and black. Beyond that, I have no clue if I have anything in common with Missy Elliot. I don't know her, but at the time she was the only woman of color my friends could identify with and that's a shame, but the entertainment community wasn't thinking about me. They didn't think I needed to see my image reflected in the media. I'm sure Missy Elliot wasn't thinking about me either. These days the defaults are Oprah and Beyonce, again two woman that I'm not sure I share all that much in common with. I would kill to be compared to Octavia Butler. Oh man. But let me get back to my main point.

I gave up expecting to see myself anywhere after The Cosby Show went off the air and that sucks. It sucks that I'm a little shocked to see an Asian/White couple in a VW commercial. It sucks that I know that commercial is not being played in parts of the country.

The main praise I have received for Better Off Red is that I have included a diverse cast of characters. As it stands, I have women who are Japanese, African-American, Puerto Rican, Bajan, Native American, Russian, British, and Scots-Mexican. I touch on their history, but I'm writing about vampires. I need to focus on them being vampires and what issues that presents. Moving forward, that I see, all of my romances will feature interracial couples. I had another author ask, with some shock (and a little disgust maybe, she seemed to be against this idea, like I was trying too hard) why I would do this. I think she was wondering why I wouldn't just write black couple or white couples. Why? Because people ask me all the time to recommend romances with people of color or for romances with mixed couples. All the time. Because I don't live in an all white world. I live in Koreatown. If anything I should be writing about Korean couples. I'm not in an all black relationship. Because my best friends here in LA are Latina and Korean. When we walk into a room, INSTANT DIVERSITY! Why? Because I am afraid to leave it up to other authors to do it for me.When people take to screen and page the default is white. Tell me I'm wrong and I will laugh in your face.

see, bestie and i being diverse.
When you say, and by you I mean the fifty or so writers I have heard say this since I've entered the game, when you say you are afraid to write stereotypes, you are saying that stereotypes would be your approach. I have stopped reading authors who latch on to the stereotypes. Native Americans being the most recent and horrifying portrayal. Here's the thing about stereotypes in fiction, no matter how true you feel they are in real life, they actually don't translate well to the page or the screen at all. If your main characters is a dumb blonde with no personality, your reader will not be interested. That's a stereotype right? But why the hell would you write it? Exactly. Here's a tip: don't write them. If you want to write about an Asian character, give them an interesting journey. If you base the journey around a math competition, well... If you are writing about Día de los Muertos, a holiday GROSSLY misunderstood and appropriated by hispsters everywhere, do the research, get the details right, but the person involved should experience human feelings that they share in common with you, the writer whether you are Latin or not.

I am not white, of course, but I have white characters all over my stories and I write them as people. I don't go on at length about how they can't dance, how they have flat butts and bad taste in music (I don't believe any of these things so I swear to god if someone quotes this as my opinion I will be very upset). I write about some wacky situation they found themselves in. I write about them falling in love or hating their boss or having some really good sex. I don't break down how white they are and what defines their whiteness according to blacks. See what I'm getting at here?

My dad and my boyfriend had an interesting conversation last night about growing up in Brooklyn in the 1950's and 60's and growing up in the 1990's in North Carolina. My dad reminded my boyfriend of something that stuck with me: though he was dealing with segregation and racism, when he got together with his friends they talked about the same things teenage boys talk about now: girls, sports, school and so on. The same applies in this situation. People of color do not act like less of people when they get together. I think of big Italian family get togethers I've attended and they have the same thing in common with big black family get togethers. There's food, there's laughter, there's cracks at some wacky uncle's expense. People are people. The traditions my be different, but the emotions, the heart is the same.

 So when people say they afraid to write stereotypes it tells me that they believe in the those stereotypes. And what freaks me out is that authors I know, people I have met have made this claim. So do they see me as stereotype? In some cases, yes. In some cases, maybe not. I also think about our president and our first lady who are people of color. Do people see them as stereotypes? Well from the way people treat them, clearly they do.

Here's what I am: A human being. I'm a woman.
Here are some things about me: I love cartoons. I love to draw. I can dance. I love the beach. I am a great swimmer. I suck at it, but Russian is my second language. I love folk music and pop and rap and jazz and some country and metal. I'm pretty freaking polite, especially to strangers. I'm a little obsessed with PBS. And I have three black siblings who can claim the same things. My sister's Russian is excellent. I am not abnormal. Plenty of black kids come from great homes and have perfectly regular interests.

Here's what I am not: A joke. A piece of entertainment. I don't now and never want to be a nanny. I'm not that great of a cook. I'm not quick to anger. It would take you a while to realize you've even pissed me off. I'm a quiet storm, baby. I'm not promiscuous to other people's detriment. I don't dance or sing on cue. I don't do stand up, nor do I have plans to be on a sketch comedy show. I have no idea how to break and/or enter. I have no interest in any sort of violence, at all. My diet doesn't consist of watermelon and fried chicken. No one in my family would be a suitable spokesperson for Popeyes. With my blackness, I cannot help you win a golf tournament, get a publishing deal, out wit plotting angels, reunite you with your estranged family member, cure you of your awkwardness in dating situations (though this is something I like to play at when I'm bored) and any other magical thing Hollywood would have you believe.

Here's what I'm tired of seeing: Authors who turn to the stereotype. Authors who claim they are not in control of their characters. Authors who set characters in diverse urban areas and omit every bit of diversity. Token minority characters. We were not put on this Earth to play supporting roles. Please believe me.

I think you see what I'm getting at. If you want to write people of color, write people of color. We are people. We have assholes among us just like you, but we're actually pretty chill. Radclyffe and Colette Moody are two authors I can name immediately who include characters of color and do it well. If you don't want to, and believe me it's a choice, then don't. But call a spade a spade. It's a choice.

If you're wondering, here's what I have on deck "race wise".

The Fling, out April 16
Biracial Russian and West African/ White
Latina/White (secondary couple)

The vampire sorority series in  no particular order, all lesbian or bisexual couples.

White/Biracial White and Hawaiian-Polynesian
Biracial Black and White/Japanese
Native American/ Biracial White and Thai

lesbian romance shorts
YA - Black/Black
Adult (60+) Black/Black with historical context

LGBT YA Novels
Chinese/ and Fae that would appear to be African-American
Biracial Black and White/ ? (I have vague picture of the love interest, but nothing concrete yet)

Hetero Werewolf Romance Novels
Native American/ ? (I have vague picture of the love interest, but nothing concrete yet)

End note. I am a victim of the American educational system in that I do not know nearly enough about First Nations and Native American people. I am working on this.

If you want to know more about racism, media white washing, cultural appropriation and erasure, Google is a mighty fine tool. Don't be afraid. Here's further reading if you're too lazy to Google.

Readers Against White Washing

Here I recommend some interracial romances.

Here Director Steve McQueen is left to answer the question as to why there are not more people of color in films.

You can also send Skittles to the Sanford Police Department.
Sanford Police Department
815 W. 13th Street
Sanford , Florida 32771

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Day 617

I'm reporting back to say that I made it through all of my readings over the weekend without passing out or puking all over myself.

Seriously though, the 6th Annual Bold Strokes Books LGBT Book Festival was wonderful. I read selections from Better Off Red and The Fling and I think I did all right. And I think I made my mom proud by wearing a dress.

courtesy of Angie Williams.
I look hot mid-sentence. I received excellent feedback on Better Off Red and The Fling. I signed some books. It was all very exciting.

In other news, Blacker Than Blue is off to my editor and I must say I am VERY happy with it. Moving forward, I have two books and two shorts in the pipeline and I plan on cleaning up a screenplay. We'll see how all of that gooes.

In more other news, if you don't follow me on twitter, you haven't seen this little beauty. Fangdangler finished reading Better Off Red and found himself inspired to draw Ginger and Camila. To say I love it would be an understatement. He also has some great adventure time fanart on his deviant art page.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Day 589

featuring my short story, Study Break
I have a short story and a book creeping up on me here and I haven't been talking about them at all. WHY??? Because I'm behind the eight ball like a motherfucker on Blacker Than Blue: VSS Book 2 and it's due in three weeks. The day the manuscript is due I have to appear in Palm Springs for a four day event where I will be reading three times. I hate reading out loud in public. I hate reading out loud when it's just me and my cats, but I'll have to do it three times in front of friends and other people I respect. Throw in the huge shitshow with the RWI/RWA contest (I'm not going to rehash it, but here are the details.) and the subsequent interview I was asked to give and you'll get one strained Bekah. My stress levels are at an eleven right now. Any time I spend on the internet I use to take away the pain of being on level eleven. I don't want to talk shop. But that's only half of the problem.

See here's the thing, I've had a really traumatic relationship with The Fling, which will be out April 16th. click this preorder it. Now that it's done and my editor helped me give it the tweeks it needed, I am very happy with the finished product. I LOVE the characters. Love them. I want to marry at least four of them and spend forever in their loving embrace, but getting to this point was trying and that's putting it lightly.

I started writing this book at a really bad point in my life. I was leaving a job, suffering from a really intense back pain, a good friend of mine died in a car accident and I won't lie, I was suicidal. I didn't try anything, but I made plans. And guess what, that shit showed up in my writing. Oksana, who is a character I'm very happy with, got all of my sads. Luckily my mental state improved. I left the horrid job and the horrid boss. I got to spend time with my family. I sulked to my mom. I reconnected with an amazing friend. WE GOT KITTENS! I brought more positive into my life and my moods started to stabilize. Thank god for my boyfriend who held my hand for that time.

But let's back up. So this is all going on and then I hit that horrid sophomore slump. Better Off Red walked out of my brain with its bags packed and was just waiting for a cab to the airport. I had to drag The Fling out kicking and screaming even though I was trying to send it on a nice vacation. I had the whole story outlined to death, but my stupid, crazy, depressed brain and my busted back were making it so very difficult to get the thing down on paper and then I would get bummed that it was taking me so long and then I had to do final edits on Better Off Red and then I was bummed again. It was a mess.

Oksana looks like Amber Rose in my imagination.
Anyway when I got The Fling back from my editor her notes basically said "WHAT THE FUCK HAPPENED!" Emotionally, I was trying to kill Oksana and every thing I did to her was in complete contrast with how awesome she is. Seriously bro, she's a sexy biracial Russian chick who lives with her grandma. Those of you who've read Better Off Red know I try to incorporate a nice bit of humor into my writing. It's there in The Fling. I've given myself a few chuckles rereading the final product (not out loud of course), but with as much humor as there was I loaded Oksana down with emo. It wasn't working. Editor and I talked. We fixed it. Oksana is not crazy anymore and I am very happy with the final story, but see I don't want to talk about it because every time I look at that book, I think about how depressed I was while I was trying to write it. I think about how painful the process was and I just don't want to go back there. But I have to suck it up.I have to tell you people all about it.

I've learned a lot writing and editing The Fling. I learned what I need to do complete a project with my sanity intact and as a result working on Blacker Than Blue has been a much smoother process. Even though I'm a little behind, I know I'll finish on time. I've even LOST weight while writing it. I know, I'm shocked too.

So my point is, I have another book coming out in April. I'm really happy with it. You should by it. I can't wait for you to meet Annie and Oksana. :) If you'd like to have a look at them go here. Warning: some of the Annie pics show boobies. If you've read Better Off Red you should DEFINITELY pick up Women of the Dark Streets. I'm calling Study Break VSS 1.5. It gives you a look into Benny and Cleo and leads perfectly into Blacker than Blue. It's also busting with great shorts from some great authors. I've sneaked a peek.

P.S. I know talking about depression and suicide makes some people really uncomfortable, but some times talking about it saves lives. 

Also this rocked my world.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Emily Cale's Day 605

So I'm switching it up today. Author Emily Cale is swinging by to share her writing journey with us. Pull up a chair or a piece of couch and give it read. I think you'll find Emily fits in just fine around here.


Wow! When Rebekah asked me to calculate the number of days since I sent my first query letter, I never imagined it would add up to that many. In some ways, it still feels like I wrote that first manuscript a few weeks ago. I sent that first query letter for my novella, Tamed, in June of 2010. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. I'd love to tell you I was patient, but I wasn't. Fortunately, I was out of the country at the time and unable to stalk my email. The normal response time passed and I followed up one night before going to sleep. When I woke up the next morning I had two responses from the acquisition editor in my inbox. The first said she was sorry for getting behind and that she'd read my manuscript right that minute. The second was an acceptance letter with contract.
I wish I could tell you that it's been all uphill. I've learned a lot of things in those roughly 600 days.

1. You can do everything right and still get a rejection letter.

2. You can royally screw stuff up and still get a contract.

3. Don't submit partial manuscripts if you haven't finished the book. No, seriously. Even if you think you'll finish it in the three months it takes them to make a decision.

4. If you screw up #3, it is in fact possible to write 50,000 words in a week. You will hate yourself and 
everyone who comes near you.

5. Rejection letters are harder to get after you've gotten acceptances. I thought it would work the other way, but it turns out that knowing how good a contract feels makes the sting all that much worse.

6. Writing books doesn't get easier. I actually think it gets harder. Now I know so much more and start hearing my editors telling me what's wrong with a scene. I also worry about how I'm going to sell stuff. I know I shouldn't, but I do. I have some weird ideas and I have no idea if they would ever be publishable.

7. Reviews are awesome and terrible all at the same time. I've had some really fantastic reviews and some that make me wonder if the reviewer read the blurb, let alone the book. I'll tell you that my best rated book sells only half as well as my worst rated. I'm not sure how I feel about that, but clearly there is no correlation.

8. Waiting does not get easier. I panic after every submission I send out. I've waited as little as 3 hours for a response and as long as 5 months. I rarely know how long it will take and the email always comes through when I'm least expecting them and never when I'm stalking my inbox.

9. I have not started writing better. I have started editing better. With each book, I get better at finding the little things that need fixed and doing them before I submit.

10. I don't know a damn thing. People ask me for advice and I know exactly how they feel. I still scour blogs and forums for that one gold nugget of wisdom that will make it all make sense. I'm starting to think it might not exist. If you find it, be sure to let me know.
Since that first query letter, I've had 1 rejection letter, 2 revise and resubmits, 11 books contracted, 8 published, and I have one thing out on submission. Public Display of Affection was my 10th contract and my 8th published piece. I'm just as happy each time one comes out and this piece has been especially exciting for me. I love both Lucy and Samantha and find that a lot of readers seem to relate will to them. 

Public Display of Affection Blurb:
After a heartbreaking end to her relationship with her girlfriend, Lucy Stark is looking to try something more adventurous. She turns to Madame Eve’s 1Night Stand service to help her find the perfect woman to push her boundaries and introduce her to the more daring side of a sexual encounter.

Samantha Taylor’s helped more than one woman explore her sexuality, but Lucy’s the first to really get to her. Keeping her walls up and the women she dates from getting inside is a skill she’s managed to master. After one night of unbridled passion, she has to decide whether to give up her hard exterior or let the woman of her dreams slip away.

Buy Links:

Author Bio:
Emily Cale spent the majority of her childhood as a visitor to the worlds of her favorite authors. With encouragement from her English teachers, she put pen to paper and began imagining her own stories. Preferring the fascinating lives of her characters, she majored in creative writing. When not lost in a manuscript or a good book, she enjoys crocheting, rock climbing, and playing board games. She currently lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, with her husband and a very spoiled cat. You can find her online on her blog ( or Twitter (