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I’m somebody who likes to get the true tale straight from the horse’s mouth, so with this in mind, I decided to conduct a poll based on African American authors experiences within the publishing industry.

I want to know how other AA authors feel about the current shelving policies, I want to know who they feel is to blame for the current problems that they face. I want to know if they feel that their work is considered inferior in comparison to white romance authors. I want to know their thoughts on what needs to change.

I already tried doing this the discreet way, by sending out an e-mail to all the AA authors that I’m familiar with, but so far I’ve only had 9 responses (I sent 50 e-mails out thus far). Two of the authors were too busy, one person didn’t want to be involved, because they thought I was affiliated to All About Romance, and one author decided to forward the supposedly private e-mail and private e-mail address, to a whole host of Yahoo groups. Thanks for that, I do so love getting spam. Incidentally, she didn’t want to particpate.

Now here’s the hard bit, to get this news out, I need help from you guys. (Yes you need to do some work!)

I would like for all the reader and writer bloggers out there who frequent this site to cut and paste the following message onto their blog:

I’d be really grateful if you guys could help me to spread the word, and fingers crossed that I get a better response this way.

Please note that this post will remain at the top of the blog for the next month. For my regular *ahem*, daily posts, please look below.

Thanks to the following AA authors who have agreed to particpate so far:

Lynn Emery

Evelyn Palfrey

Marcia King-Gamble

Niqui Stanhope

Gwyneth Bolton

Beverly Jenkins

Monica Jackson

MJ King

Raine Weaver

Kayla Perrin

Kymberlyn Reed

Angela Henry

Seressia Glass

Kyra Hicks

Eugenia O’Neal

Shelia Goss

Millennia Black

Bettye Griffin

Harrine Freeman

I’m sure it’s no coincidence that these ladies also have great websites. (g)

I wrote this review last year, but I thought I’d repost it because I happen to like Sharon Cullars and I think you should all go and buy her book so that she can keep writing. *g*

How yummy is this book cover?

So I recently read Again, by Sharon Cullars. Here’s the blurb:

My Verdict

I liked this story. I really did. However, it wasn’t perfect, but before I go on about the things that made me want to growl like a lion on steroids, I’ll tell you what I did like about it.

I thought Cullars had a good voice, she was easy to read, and the book was compelling enough to keep me amused during the horrendous landing that me and The Tall Guy experienced on our way back from Dusseldorf. (I’m still convinced that the pilot on that flight was on some sort of a training scheme).

I liked the heroine because she didn’t piss me off. I liked the hero, because he didn’t piss me off. You may think that this is an odd thing to point out, but trust me, I’ve read some right duds lately, but thankfully, this wasn’t one of the legions of shitty books that have come my way in the past few weeks.

Although Tyne was having a hard time at work, and things hadn’t gone quite as she had planned, she didn’t sit around bitching and moaning like a crack addict going cold turkey. She was a woman in control, and that’s how I like my heroines. There aren’t many authors(IMO) who can pull off strong heroines, that don’t end up pissing me off, for one reason or another. Cullars managed to do this rather nicely.

David, the hero, was very appealing, even though he had some issues. It was easy to warm to him, because I’m a romance reader who prefers the hero to be more gaga over the heroine, than the other way round.

There was a point in the story where David did start to get a leetle annoying, but I got over that, quick sharp.

Now, let’s talk about what I didn’t like about the story.

There were just too much jumping about between the different times, and the constant head hopping between the different characters did my head in . At one point, I’d read a full page before I realised that David was no longer David Carvelli in modern day Chicago, rather he was Joseph whatshisface from the year 1879. This happened more than once, and it frustrated the tits off me.

Again was unpredictable in parts, mostly due to the fact that at one point, you couldn’t work out how Cullars was going to give Tyne and David a happy ending. She gave them a HEA, but to be honest, it wasn’t as satisfactory as it could have been , considering everything that had gone on.

Something else that I didn’t particularly appreciate about the story, was the sub-plot involving David’s mother’s ESP abilities. Totally unnecessary, and just took up precious pages that could have been dedicated to David and Tyne’s evolving relationship.

Again was a beautiful story, and although it wasn’t totally flawless, I do think that a lot of readers would be able to look beyond the not-so-good things, and still manage to enjoy, what definitely was a better than average story.

Hmmm… Honeysuckle…

Monday, February 5, 2007
Posted in: It's just too much

This paragraph totally threw me out of the story I was just reading:

Honeysuckle? I laughed out loud when I read the above paragraph. I’m not sure why, but for some reason, I had visions of brightly coloured shrubs growing from the heroine’s lips. Yes I realise that that’s weird.

Carry on.

There’s been the most terrifically funny thread over at the AAR group list.

We’ve been talking about virgins in books, and why a lot of romance readers seem to hate them. My thing is, I don’t mind virgins, as long as the hymen isn’t a replacement for their brains, and they’ve at least dated.

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never had sex, unless you’re living in outer Mongolia, you will know that the vagina isn’t just for bleeding out of. Or at least you should.

I’ve read lots of Linda Howard books that featured older virgins in them, but they never bothered me at all, but then again, she’s a good writer.

This question from one of the AAR posters, caught my eye:

This was part of Lynne Connolly’s answer to the above question:

That woman seriously cracks me up.

I’ll tell you how I’d feel, I wouldn’t effing read it, no matter who it was written by. I hate too much virginity-based drama in a book, and if a contemporary woman had gotten to the age of 32 without so much as a sniff of a man (without the benefit of being a nun) then you could safely assume that she would have some deep issues to resolve first. apparently there are 30 year old virgins who have never dates, who are fully adjusted, but I simply don’t want to read about them in a romance I’m not interested in reading a romance book with that amount of emotional baggage. Does that make me shallow? Possibly.

I found this comment quite amusing:

Come on guys, some of you must have examples that you can cite. Our Mills and Boon, Tender and Modern romances are just full of those kind of heroines. Which is why I stopped reading them years ago. Although every now and then, I do get sucked in by Emma Darcy, who’s books I generally hate, but for some reason still read. I’m sure there’s a name for this affliction.

This comment incensed a couple of people:

This poster wasn’t overjoyed by that comment, she responded:

I’m sorry, but was it bad that I laughed at this point? Tee hee.

Anyway, the conversation then moved onto Pseudo Virgins, you all know the type right?

This was my contribution:

God, I can’t tell you how much ‘virgin’ widows/divorcees annoy me.

Anyway, the conversation went slowly downhill from there. One of the AAR regulars commented that she was offended by the fact that people would dare call contemp virgin stories stupid, just because she liked them. She insisted on taking every comment personally, like a few AAR readers are wont to do, every now and then.

This is what she had to say after I posted that I personally hate virgin stories with heroines who had never even so much as dated:

Talk about oversensitive. I’ve been hating vampire stories for a while now, and don’t mind saying so, I certainly couldn’t give a flying fuck if anybody decided they totally disagreed with me.

I love best-friend-to-lovers romance books, but it wouldn’t occur to me to take offence if somebody else thought they sucked hairy balls. Does that make me a freak?

It still amazes me that people get so het up about these things, when there are so many other things to take umbrage with. Like racism in publishing for instance… *g*

Anyway, for anybody who’s unsure about my stance on this, let me clarify: I hate contemporary storylines with thirty year old virgins who have never dated, and don’t know what their vagina is for.

Dontcha just love the romance community?

I Can’t Believe She’s Dead…

Monday, February 5, 2007
Posted in: Anna Nicole Smith Dead

Anna Nicole Smith is dead?

How absolutely terrible. First her son and now her. What a waste.

Nothing Worth Having…

Monday, February 5, 2007
Posted in: Uncategorized

I just read this on the blog of an AA author that I asked to participate in the survey.

Check this out:

You know, I’m not a writer, I’m a reader. Just a plain ‘ole reader.

Monica’s stance on this issue, although sometimes abrasive, is much better than the apathy I see coming from the other authors who are effected the most.

To say that I’m thoroughly disgusted by the lack of response from the very authors that I sincerely want to aid, is a total understatement.

A lot of you guys may feel that the likes of Monica should shut up, and stop bringing negative attention to the AA writing community, but you know what, she’s made far more of a difference than you, or those like you who simply want an easy life, or a quick fix.

To say that nothing has changed, is such total bullshit that I can’t believe anyone would make such a ridiculous statement.

Granted the changes may not have been to the extent that some of you may have hoped, but the changes are there.

I guarantee that the reasons that the changes haven’t been as extensive as you would have liked, is due to the lack of support and solidarity amongst you. One person can make a difference, but in order to effect change, you guys need to stand together, if you can’t do that, then you really shouldn’t be surprised when the status quo remains as is.

Racism has always been an issue in the US, but that hasn’t stopped black people from being successful. In your country, you have judges who are black. You have a strong presence within the police force. You have black lawyers, black doctors, black people in key political positions.

Now compare that to where I live. Do your research, and you will know that in comparison, you guys have it much easier.

All the above was made possible by people who didn’t pansy out because they were tired of the fight. All these things were made possible because those who came before you wanted a better way of life for them and their children. They stood up, and refused to be dismissed.

Why pour scorn on somebody who’s actually trying to help? I have nothing to gain by doing this, and quite frankly it seems to me that if the people who are affected the most don’t give a flying fuck, then why should I?

This attitude is a slap in the face to the whole host of people within the online romance community who have supported this endeavour. Monica’s refusal to lie down and die spurred this on, not you. All you did was scoff at the effort, and for that alone, you deserve to languish in midlist mediocrity. (You know who you are.)

To simply give up because you’ve been here before has got to be the most absurd thing I’ve ever heard. You ought to be ashamed of yourself for taking such a negative stance.

MLK and Rosa Parks would be rolling over in their graves, if they knew that their legacy of strength in the face of adversity has almost become an urban fucking legend.

Mrs G Has Her Say… Again

Monday, February 5, 2007
Posted in: Mrs Giggles pearls of wisdom

Mrs G has her say over the whole Racism in publishing/Monica/Sybil debate and as usual, makes a lot of sense.

Monica come back, and stop being so daft for fucks sake. I still admire your spirit and passion, and were other AA romance authors as brave and forthwright as you, maybe things might have changed for the better by now. Those are the ones who need to look at themselves for not speaking up, you just need to lighten the fuck up sometimes.

Yummy Sounding Book…

Monday, February 5, 2007
Posted in: AA romance book promotion

Normally when there’s a yummy sounding book that gets added to my TBR list, I usually do so without any fanfare, but seeing as I’m trying to save the world from racism, one book at a time, I thought I’d promote Eve Vaughn’s new book out at Samhain. Here’s the blurb:

Sounds good ja? If you haven’t tried an IR book before, here’s your chance to go buy. (Only if you like the blurb and it seems like your kinda book.)