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Tomorrow, I’m going to highlight one of the most clear-cut examples of ignorance that I’ve come across in a while, but today, I want to highlight a comment from the SB’s racism in romance thread, that really made me think, and depressed me at the same time.

This is an excerpt from Trumystique’s thought-provoking post:

…However, I am heartsick by the silence around this issue. Granted its been talked about for many years without a lot of action. Maybe its all invisible action and what we see is the tip of the iceberg. I hope so but I dont think so. I have been really sick about this Marcotte issue (just this horrible nauseau in my stomach– Hilary’s comments last week just sent me over the top) and I have felt this at many times. Its like someone you think is your friend and is working with you reveals she’s a backstabber and doesnt care about you– she’s working for herself. Its a profound sense of betrayal.

Compound that with the fact that you are invisible in everyday life from the internet, on the bus, at work and in popular media. And I am invisible for so many reasons. People dont see me they see the stereotype. I am invisible because when people finally do see me they are like “Oh well I dont see color and you arent like other X people”.

That is what I am talking about- I need allies. I need someone who is willing to work with me and not pay lip service to working with me. Dont pat me on the head and say that sucks and keep doing what you are doing. If I tell you that this genre makes me invisible then please listen to what I am saying.

The inequality of it being possible for a white author to write about black characters and have that book shelved as “romance”, but when a black author does exactly the same the book tends to end up being marketed as “AA romance” means that to create real equality, white readers would need to support not just books written by white authors which include black characters, but also books written by black authors about black characters.

So I hear that you get what I am saying. And you are willing to be an ally. But frankly I think there needs to be a change in terminology. Romance is not Romance. For the most part I dont see myself or anyone like me in most of the romance novels on the shelves. There is nothing that is universal about Romance if it continues to silence, marginalize whole groups of people and their intimate relationships. If LaNora is a Romance author and Beverly Jenkins is a Black Romance author- there is a BIG FAT PROBLEM. Clearly is says that Jenkins is writing something different from Romance.

So we need to use different words and call it what it is. LaNora writes White Romance and so does Crusie, SEP, Laura Kinsale and most of the rest of those published in NY houses. And all the taglines on most blogs should change too. So the tagline for the SBs should change “all of the white romance and none of the bullshit”.

But I dont think anyone is going to like that proposition. So another suggestion would be to come up with an acronym to replace AA Romance. Because the term AA romance reinforces the idea that there is something essentially different about the love stories of black people. So maybe to acknowledge that it should be RwPOC. So that would be Romances with
People of Color. But again kinda lets the whitewashing of Romance off the hook. And of course my acronym doesnt speak to the fact that if romances are written by Asian women or Latina women they are shelved in the White Romance section. Hmm actually doesnt that reproduce what happens in this country when immigrants enter the US and they have been asked “Do you want to be with us or you want to be Negroes/colored/black folk?” We all know the answer to that question…

Very thought-provoking indeed.

SB Sarah posted this comment in the same thread:

One article cited featured a quote from an unnamed magazine publisher who stated that romance covers featuring Black characters in “Afrocentric styles” might make white readers uncomfortable. This same publisher said that covers without people would be preferable.

(White reader Sarah says: “What a bunch of unmitigated poppycock.”)

I think that Sarah’s dismissal of the above statement is wrong, and I said so:

I’m not sure if that statement is poppycock though Sarah. I think that a lot of white romance readers would be put off by a black couple on the cover. There are obviously exceptions, but I’m willing to bet that a high percentage of the white romance readers here have sub-consciously by-passed books that have featured black protagonists on the cover.

I still believe that one of the reasons Dorothy Koomson’s My Best Friend’s Girl sold so well, was because of the clever/subtle cover (UK version that is, the US version sucks arseholes). A lot of white readers confessed that they hadn’t realised that the heroine was black, until halfway through the book…

I think I’ve said it before, but I truly believe that even if the AA authored books were shelved in the same place as ‘regular’ romance, I still think the majority of white romance readers would not take a second look, if the cover featured black people.

I believe this to be true, and I’d really appreciate it if nobody brings up the fact that Suzanne Brockmann featured black protags or that Anne Stuart wrote an IR romance featuring an Asian hero, because they are really weak arguments.

Another argument which makes me cringe is the ‘But I’ve got nothing in common with these characters, plus they speak funny’.

It’s good to discuss the issue of racism within romance, but it saddens me that nothing ever changes.

Man United beat Wigan to claim their tenth Premiership championship in sixteen years!!

Wooo hoooo!!!!!!

I was quite prepared to not like Sugar Daddy, because I couldn’t see how Kleypas could write a great contemporary book, when I was so used to her fantastic historicals. I’m pleased to say however, that I absolutely loved it.

Here’s a rather long blurb from an Amazon Reviewer:

When awkward teenager Liberty Jones meets self-assured, loner Hardy Cates her life is changed forever. Liberty and her mother have just moved to a trailer home in Welcome, Texas. Hardy lives in the same trailer park with his mother and three siblings.

Both the Cates the Jones families don’t have much in the way of money, but their ties to their family make their lives complete. Liberty’s mother works hard to support her daughter on her own, and when she becomes pregnant, Liberty steps in to help shoulder the extra burden. Likewise, Hardy also comes from a single parent home (his father is in prison) and he works hard outside the home to provide extra income for his family.

Liberty is going through puberty when she first meets Hardy and she falls for him hard. He is her constant advocate, helping her with tests, teaching her to play basketball, helping her see her own inner and outer beauty. But Hardy wants nothing more than to one day leave the sheltered trailer park life behind him and make something of his life. He is determined to not wind up like his father and he knows that falling in love with Liberty will only make it harder for him to go. To both of their dismay, he refuses to get involved with her and he walks away from Welcome and Liberty without turning back. Shortly after, Liberty loses her mother in an accident and is left to raise her two-year-old sister alone.

Forced to act as a single mother to her sister Carrington, Liberty makes sacrifice after sacrifice to ensure they are both fed, healthy, and happy. She sets out on a career path as a hair stylist and moves with Carrington to Houston to work at a prestigious salon. Once there, she meets Churchill Travis, a successful businessman who the other stylists tell her would make a perfect “sugar daddy.” Liberty has never considered such an arrangement, but when Churchill takes a personal interest in her and offers her a live-in position as his assistant, she lets herself be swayed for the sake of her sister.

Living with Churchill will give Carrington opportunities Liberty could never afford on her own. Soon Liberty has found love, happiness, and contentment in the Travis home and things are going well. But when Hardy steps back into her life after nearly 10 years, she has to decide if she’s willing to sacrifice the happiness she’s found for the future she’d always dreamed of.

Liberty was a really likeable heroine. She went through quite a bit of hardship, including losing her mum, but she didn’t become bitter and twisted by the things that fate threw at her. I really like that quality in a heroine.

One of the other things I loved most about the book, was Liberty’s relationship with her sister, Carrington. Probably because I too have a sister who I’ve doted on since the day she was born.

Kleypas’ story-telling abilities is clear from the word go. I’m usually not a huge fan of first person POV books, but Kleypas gave Liberty such a great voice, that it was hard to find fault, in fact, I suspect it would have taken away from the story, had it been told in the third person.

Overall, a beautiful story, with a winsome heroine and fabulous secondary characters. And the heroes weren’t bad either.

If you haven’t read this story already, you really need to go buy!

By the way, that cover on the right is the UK version. I’m not sure what the cover had to do with the story, but it was infinitely preferable to the US version. What do you guys think?

“I’ve got an auction up on Ebay to help raise money for the cyclone victims and I’m trying to get the word out.

Right now, it involves a couple of ARCs, several books, but more have added, and a GC to Barnes and Noble.

It’s up on ebay thru missionfish-the charity I chose was SAVE THE CHILDREN since they already have people in the country and have had some success getting much needed supplies. And they have an excellent rep for putting their money where their mouth is- 90% of all monies received go to their programs, which is beyond excellent for a charity.

I know some people feel not doing anything might be best considering the actions of the junta and hold off waiting until that situation changes, but I don’t think letting people suffer is a viable option either if there are ways of getting help in.

From Save the Children’s 5/9 update

Westport, Conn. (May 9, 2008) — The death toll in Myanmar continues to rise as a result of Cyclone Nargis and hardships for hundreds of thousands of survivors left in its wake are increasing. With 500 staff on the ground, Save the Children has reached 72,000 people, 24,000 of whom are estimated to be children, through the distribution of food, water purification tablets, plastic sheeting for shelter and other needed supplies

And this is part of the reason why I chose them-they already have people inside the country and they seem to be a trusted by those within the country, making it easier to get help in.

So far, the auction includes

Signed copy of Private Places, historical romance anthology, not due out until 8/08 with stories by Robin Schone, Allyson James, Claudia Dain & Shiloh Walker

-The Perfect Ten, signed, donated by Janice Maynard

-The Legacy & bookmarks, signed, donated by Beth Williamson

-Hard as Nails, signed, *7/08 release* ARC donated by HelenKay Dimon

-Signed books donated by Rosemary Laurey-titles to be listed at a later date-

-Hunters: Heart and Soul, signed, by Shiloh Walker

-Hunting the Hunter, signed, by Shiloh Walker

-Hunter’s Salvation, signed, by Shiloh Walker

Recently donated but not yet listed items include books from Patrica Sargeant, Ann Jacobs, Charlene Teglia, Kate Angell & a gift card from the Brown Literary Agency for Barnes & Noble.

Anybody interested in bidding on the auction, it can be found here

Authors interested in donating can contact me shilohwalker at gmail.com”

Mills And Boon Movies On Offer…

Sunday, May 11, 2008
Posted in: Mills and Boon

Wow, The Daily Mail are giving away twelve Mills and Boon DVDs, as part of its Centenary celebrations.

The Daily Mail launches its latest DVD giveaway . . . a collection of 12 all-time favourite romantic Mills & Boon classics on DVD for you to enjoy — all ABSOLUTELY FREE. This year, Mills & Boon celebrates a century as one of the most enduringly popular brand names in publishing.

Over the past 100 years the Mills & Boon imprint has become synonymous with romantic fiction, and inside every copy of Saturday’s Daily Mail you’ll find your FREE DVD of At the Midnight Hour, starring Patsy Kensit and Simon MacCorkindale. Then, from Monday, in each day’s Daily Mail, we will be printing a voucher. Simply cut it out and take it to your local branch of Tesco or WHSmith where, in return, you will be given that day’s DVD

I’m loving the promo! (more…)