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Once again, I had a load of posts on my Google Reader to catch up on, so here are some of the more noteworthy ones.

1. Apparently Avatar has made it to the top spot for the sixth week, and has now grossed $552m in the US, which means that it will probably now eclipse Titanic ($600m ) to become the biggest box office hit ever.
On the other hand, The Lovely Bones isn’t faring so well. It’s possible that people don’t want to watch a film where the main protag is a little girl who was raped and murdered. Shocker.

2. RRRJessica is back from South Africa, and she has pictures.

3. Dear Author has news of more ‘white-washing’ going on at Bloomsbury. Remember the uproar over the cover of Justine Larbalestier’s Liar, and how the black protag somehow took on a white face on the cover? Well it seems that this is becoming a trend. Bloomsbury seems to hate black people on covers. The book that has been white-washed this time is Jaclyn Dolamore’s Magic Under Glass.

Apparently the main protagonist is described as a ‘dark-skinned’ woman, but if you look on the cover, that woman definitely seems white to me. Of course you have the usual Pollyannas burying their head in the sand and pretending that Bloomsbury is simply being misunderstood. There’s one person, (A, who seems to be a Michelle Malkin wannabe) who is apparently bi-racial and looks white, well isn’t she the lucky one. Talk about totally missing the fucking point. But then again, anybody who argues that race doesn’t exist, then goes on to write the following needs shooting:

I admit I am somewhat cautious when selecting “non-traditional” romance — by that I refer to ANY type of romance not featuring a white, monogamous, non-handicapped m/f pairing — because I really don’t want to read a book where “white” people, “straight” people, Christian people, etc. are villified, represented as being insensitive or lacking awareness and respect for minorities.

God I hate twats like her. It’s not like we don’t know that publishers believe that book covers featuring black folks don’t sell as well.

Salon also weighed in on the whitewashing scandal.

Anyway, as with Liar, Bloomsbury have announced that they will be changing the US cover. It makes one wonder whether or not they keep doing these things to get some free publicity.

4. Jane at DA has a “summary” of The Gingerbread Tryst over at DA. Yeah, she loved it as much as I did.

5. Angela has a great post up on her blog. She’s questioning who the audience for African American romance is.

Angela writes:

According to the RWA (their previous stats were more detailed, so I’m including them), the average age for a romance reader is around 45, tends to live in the South or the Mid-West, is married, has children, has at least an undergraduate degree, and is a white-collar worker. The stats aren’t broken down by ethnicity, but I’m certain that the majority, perhaps even all, of the readers surveyed were white. Despite my desire for their inclusion into the general romance audience, African-American romance readers have different expectations for their romance fiction..

I daresay that I probably don’t fit RWAs stats, but then again I live in England where a lot of black women wouldn’t be seen dead reading romance.

Angela continues:

However, as I tuned into the new (unfortunately) BET web series, Buppies, I was suddenly struck by how unlike AA romance it was. Oh, sure, it did perpetuate some of the stereotypes and bogeymen that have been floating around the professional black community for the past ten years, and there’s drama, drama, drama galore, but it’s…well, smart. Couple this with shows like Girlfriends, The Game, or Half & Half (I miss that show!), and it leaves me confused about the typical audience for AA romance. For one thing, if you hang around online a bit, you’ll notice that there is a large, and growing segment of black men and women forming communities online (and these are hilarious, smart, pithy folks) AND watching the same TV shows. Yet, somehow, in its current incarnation, I cannot see these people rushing into the store to pick up the latest Kimani or Dafina. They might read some Zane, or some Eric Jerome Dickey, they’ll probably cop the upcoming Helena Andrews memoir/chick-lit Bitch Is the New Black, maybe some nonfiction written by a black sociologist or historian, but the romance genre is invisible to these people, who admit to being voracious readers.

Raven over at Raven’s Reviews counters with her own thoughts on the subject.

She writes:

Perhaps part of the problem is that “hilarious, smart, pithy folks” think AA romance is written for their opposite number–boring, dull-witted, unfunny folk. Maybe the AA romance reading community hasn’t made itself visible enough to people outside it for those people to recognize the diversity (in age, education, geography, income, interests, marital status, etc) of the community. On the one hand, I see no problem with that. If AA romance fans want to get together to talk to each other about something they love and remain unconcerned about the world outside, more power to them. On the other hand, though, there is something to be said for announcing our presence. So here goes:
I am a 36 year old, happily married mother of two daughters. I am very well educated and work full time. I love superhero comic books, the television show Supernatural (in the ongoing IR in my head, the lovely Jensen Ackles is the star), and besides reading about the Eatons from Pennsylvania

Shall we? I’m a thirty four year-old sometimes happily married, sometimes less so, university-educated British black woman, who has a Bachelor of Science degree, as well as a BA degree. I have a more than passing interest in domestic and international politics. I love watching trashy reality TV, as well as hard-hitting expose documentaries. I think that writers like Eric Jerome Dickey do nothing but help cement some of the black stereotypes out there, so no thanks. I think that Zane is a tad over-rated, however I think that Beverly Jenkins and Dorothy Koomson are the fucking bees’ knees.

Any romance readers out there who want to add their stats too? It doesn’t matter if you aren’t black. *g*

6. Katiebabs has a post over at her blog entitled When Failure Is The Only Option Left. It’s an intensely raw and honest post, that I admit made me feel a tad uncomfortable whilst reading it. I think it shocked me to witness such black despair in someone that I consider to be a Sunshine Yellow, but if Katie can be so honest, then I can be too.

Katie, you’re not alone. My life isn’t exactly how I planned it either. Not exactly. I always wanted four kids – three girls and one boy to protect the girls. I come from a good-sized, close-knit family, so I always envisaged that I would emulate my parents and have a houseful of kids. Isn’t it funny how you take such things for granted? Well TTG and I tried for years to get pregnant, and last year our dream finally came true. Only to be dashed a couple of months later. Yeah, I lost the baby, and it was hard, but for a few weeks, I was the happiest person this side of the equator, and that’s a feeling that I hang onto when the rain falls heavily and the sky gets dark. Shit happens, but the sun will always rise, even without the rainbows. You’ve just got to keep on keeping on.


  • Leslee
    January 26
    10:49 am

    I am so sorry, Karen. I lost my first pregnancy as well. You summed it up best, you’ve got to keep on keeping on.

    Best wishes!


  • sallahdog
    January 26
    12:48 pm

    I am so sorry Karen… I tried for 3 years to get pregnant, did , and lost at 3 months along(I have since gone on to have 2 so no telethons for me, please)… I think the worst thing for me was that I had waited for almost 3 months to tell anyone, and then right after that miscarried, so I had to hear constant “I am so sorry” (which I just did to you)… For me, it made it harder…

    I also always wanted to have 4 kids, since I didnt birth that many, we now foster, and are considering adoption.. Life may not turn out as you plan, but can be great anyway…. As a friend of mine (who I met through my pregnancy troubles and bonded over her own problems) likes to say… She was never able to have kids from her body, and her husband decided he didnt want to foster or adopt…So while I was slogging through the snow getting my kids to school after Christmas, they were going on a month long cruise… I found myself sighing over her life… there is always something better, or different, the trick really is to be happy in the moment, and often happiness is a choice we make… So I am HAPPY dammit, being up at 5 in the morning getting the kids up to go to school..

    Not to make light of Karens very real pain or Katie Babs (will go over and read her blog)..


  • I’m sorry to hear this. I’m glad you shared it, especially the “sometimes happily married” part. I can totally relate to that. Hope better days are ahead for you and Katie.


  • (((Karen)))


  • Marianne McA
    January 26
    5:01 pm

    I’m so sorry.


  • Karen, I am so, so sorry for your loss.

    Crap, I’ve been in an emotional turmoil lately. Shit does happen, and it’s not fair, but as you, I look forward to getting up out a bed and keep, keeping on.

    Thank you.


  • Shelby Reed
    January 26
    5:41 pm

    Hey K,

    I’ve had the strongest impulse to email you lately and check on things. Just this morning I was looking for your email address and can’t find it anywhere. So there’s proof that people are tuned in and thinking about you (especially very disorganized people like me. :-))

    You and I row the same baby boat. I’m still trying to understand why things work the way they do, and I don’t think I’ll truly understand it until I’m at the threshold of the Great Beyond. In the interim, all we can do is bob along when those metaphorical oars slip from our fingers.

    Just want you to know I’ve got you and your husband in my thoughts. And send me your email address!


  • Oh, Karen, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. We also tried to conceive for, oh, three years or so before having a viable pregnancy. I had a handful of chemical pregnancies and miscarriages due to blighted ovums and low progesterone. We never told anyone about them and it was so hard to go from complete elation to absolute despair in just a few hours. I think a lot of people thought I was bipolar…

    In the end, though, we finally conceived our miracle baby. She was born with a massive heart defect and these first five months have been stressful and scary but I wouldn’t change a thing.

    My very best thoughts are with you.


  • I really think Raven nailed it. It’s easy to think that how things are in the “online community” is how they are “everywhere” – and that’s just not true. Not all romance readers are “out there” and vocal. They buy their books, read their books, and then don’t talk to a soul about them. They read in a vacuum – for lack of a better description.

    Karen – it’s terribly inadequate, but I am so sorry to hear about your miscarriage. You’re right – shit happens, the sun rises, and you find a way to pick yourself up and keep moving. But Lord knows, it isn’t always easy.


  • sallahdog
    January 26
    7:06 pm

    however I think that Beverly Jenkins and Dorothy Koomson are the fucking bees’ knees.

    Any romance readers out there who want to add their stats too? It doesn’t matter if you aren’t black. *g*

    I am not black and agree with you on Jenkins and Koomson…I also like LA Banks (less so these days since I am bored by vamps now) and have always had a complete fan girl crush on Maya Angelou (I am still bitter the hubby wouldnt let me name my daughter Maya.)


  • Oh, Karen, I’m so sorry to read this. I was so excited for you, and I know that my excitement was no more than a grain of sand compared to your hopes.


  • Throwmearope
    January 26
    11:06 pm

    Older than dirt, white, overeducated, mostly happily married for 31 or 32 years (I forget), romance reader since BEFORE YOU PEOPLE WERE BORN. Frank Yerby remains my favorite black romance writer. But I’ve got a couple of Beverly Jenkins on my TBR pile right now.

    Miscarriages run in my family, and I had 6 of ’em total. Fortunately, the keepers turned out ok (a bit difficult at times, but ok) and we have three lovely children. I had my first kid at 33, second at 36, third one at 39 (needed my head examined). I had two losses after each pregnancy. So I was pregnant 9 times in 10 years. (Must be all the romance I read.)

    The thing is, Karen, you and TTG have documented fertility together. That is huge. So there is no reason not to try again if you so desire. With my third successful pregnancy, they made me do progesterone suppositories (which were messy and gross and disgusting), because I was so old. The last 2 miscarriages weren’t helped by the progesterone, so I am not sure how helpful it is overall. A good fertility doc can give you updated info.

    I am so sorry for your loss.


  • Gwen
    January 26
    11:59 pm


    I am so sorry for the loss of your unborn child.

    There are no words.


  • eggs
    January 27
    12:00 am

    I’m so sorry Karen. For me, my first miscarriage at 13 weeks was the worst emotional pain I have ever suffered – even worse than when my beloved Dad died and I was a true Daddy’s Girl. I have no idea why it hit me so hard, but it did. I cried for months. Freaked my husband right out, then he got the shits with me because I didn’t “get over it” fast enough (arsehole). I got pregnant again about 6 months later and then it bloody well happened again at 12 weeks. Weirdly, although I was upset again, it was nothing near as bad as the first time. Then, about a year later, I got pregnant again at 38. I spent the whole pregnancy basically waiting for that one to die too and was a depressed wreck the whole time. I was honestly surprised to hear his first cries when he was born. Like Sallahdog, I hate talking about it as it always brings back those horrible emotions. Pain is very personal, so I can’t say “I know how you feel”, but I can say I know that it must suck.


  • Las
    January 27
    12:04 am

    I’m so sorry Karen. I can’t even imagine.


  • Lorraine
    January 27
    12:26 am

    So sorry for your loss, Karen. It’s heartbreaking.


  • So sorry, Karen. Pain is so personal and hard to talk about. You (and Katiebabs knows she’s included) are in my prayers. (((hugs)))


  • (((karen)))

    who is apparently bi-racial and looks white, well isn’t she the lucky one. Talk about totally missing the fucking point.

    I’ve got three kids who are biracial. Their dad’s is half Native and I can assure you, he DEFINITELY doesn’t look white. My kids look pretty damn white and regardless, I’m not sure exactly how looking white or lack of looking white has anything to do with those covers, but to whomever this was that said:

    I admit I am somewhat cautious when selecting “non-traditional” romance — by that I refer to ANY type of romance not featuring a white, monogamous, non-handicapped m/f pairing — because I really don’t want to read a book where “white” people, “straight” people, Christian people, etc. are villified, represented as being insensitive or lacking awareness and respect for minorities.

    The comment doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to me and I’m scratching my head trying to understand it.

    I haven’t read the Bloomsgury mess and nor do I plan to, but I can say, biracial kids or no, the girl on the third cover, Magic Under Glass, looks rather white to me. To me. My opinion and my opinion, only. But if the girl in the book isn’t white…then I don’t entirely understand why she looks rather fair-skinned.

    And my stats… eh, I’m a little close to the average for once, . White, 33, live in the midwest, married with kids who drive her insane and I love them dearly, licensed nurse but I only do that when they make me and I guess I’d be considered white-collar, even though I usually work in jeans or whatever else is comfy.


  • It took me a few reads to comprehend that last paragraph. I was in denial, I suppose. I really have nothing worthy to say because I have once been there, but I like your way of thinking. Actually, I’m not surprised you’d think that way because it’s so you (and TTG). So British of you, too.


  • I’m so very sorry to hear about your loss, Karen.

    Shit happens, but the sun will always rise, even without the rainbows. You’ve just got to keep on keeping on.

    Very true. You’ve put it beautifully.


  • Everytime I saw you on twitter I’d smile thinking about what was to come. Was very happy for you. I’m so sorry, luv.


  • I’m so sorry for your loss. There are no words that can make up for that sort of pain.

    On Avatar: If you calculate inflation, the highest grossing film is Gone With the Wind. This makes me much happier.


  • Karen – I’m sending cyber hugs your way. I admire both you and Katiebabs for your honesty.

    Take good care of yourself.


  • Karen–You know my heart is always with you.

    As for the stats, I’m a 32 year old Native American/Mexican Californian American (Yeah, dare publishers to aim books at MY ethnic group without insult). I’m a wife of almost 15 years, mother of three, raiser of 4 soon to be raiser of 6 (possibly 7). I live and breathe romance. I have a high school education and while I love learning, I hate spending money learning things other people insist I learn. I’m cheap as hell because I grew up without money and don’t have very much of it now. I’m not terribly versed in AA romances–because they’re not stocked in the romance section and I only get about 5 minutes to riffle through that area as it is–but mostly I want a romance. I don’t care what the chars look like as long as they aren’t morons. And that the books are actually ROMANTIC.

    I considered sharing my shitty 2009 with you, so everyone could understand why I’ve been fighting my depression and not entirely winning. But really, no one needs that. Suffice it to say there were so many losses, heartbreaking ones, and it has been–without question–the absolute worst year of my life. But there have been rainbows. Little ones, a couple of big ones, one that I almost didn’t notice because I was so mired in all that shit. But I also think there’s a reason rainbows are shaped like handles, to help you pull yourself out.

    I’m still depressed. My heart is still broken in places and there’s a hell of a lot of shit on my shoes. But it comes off if you keep walking and reaching for those rainbows.

    Besides, what else is there to do? 🙂

    Here if you need anything,


  • veinglory
    January 27
    11:38 pm

    Is there a serious suggestion here that a rough profile of the most typical romance reader somehow means that is all what or even most romance readers are? Sure the mythical average reader may be a married American, but I am never going to be either of those things. Any meaningful representation of data has to include the mean and the variation. And when you are talk about buyers of half of the world’s published fiction you better believe there is variation.


  • Janet W
    January 28
    5:33 am

    Boy oh boy … what honesty we find while checking up on our faves. KatieBabs just struck me to the core: this economy is ripping people’s dreams into shreds and coming up with new dreams ain’t the easiest thing sometimes.

    I am so sorry for your loss: I so hope that there’s a 2nd chapter ahead for you — and of course there is.


  • Sherry
    January 28
    2:16 pm

    I’m so sorry Karen. I hope there are lots of rainbows ahead for you.


  • Karen, I’m so, so sorry for your loss ((((((hugs)))))


    As for the stats, I’m 33, white, single, have no children, but one cat, live in Germany and have lately (= roughly a month ago) acquired a PhD in English lit. I worry about my future, about whether I’ll ever get a permanent job at university. I’m also worried because my creative well has run drier than ever before, and at the moment I don’t even feel like reading.

    So far, 2010 has been a rather shitty year, and I so hope that it’ll improve soon. I know there are lots of things to look forward to (like teaching at York U in Toronto for six weeks this summer!), but at the moment they seem to be very far away (and who knows whether my stay in Toronto won’t turn out utterly dreadful? Like, I might feel lost and lonely, my accomodation might be horrible….)


  • Karen (((Hugs))) Along with everyone else, I’m sorry for loss. That’s all we can do sometimes – just keep on keeping on.


  • Dawn
    January 31
    7:33 pm

    I’m so sorry for your loss. I too was wondering how you were getting on. I hope you get another chance.

    On the honesty thing… 45, married (not too happily), 1 great daughter, a nutso cat. Always hoped we’d have more than one child, but shit happened and we didn’t try for more. Got made redundant from my job of 9 years last June, which was a huge kick in the teeth as you can imagine, but just the past couple of weeks found a job with a very good chance of going permanent. I suffer from depression and have just started back on the tablets, but in all of this I haven’t thought of ending it all. I’m just struggling on and hoping that I’ll get better.

    My love to you and TTG, Karen.


  • Thanks for all your kind words guys, it means a lot. I’ve had a few months to deal with the loss, so it really isn’t as raw now as it was.

    Hey Shelby, my email address is hairylemony @ gmail.com (no spaces) Long time no hear, hope you’re doing ok.

    Dee, I have no idea how I would cope with losing my sister, shes my darling and I love her to bits, so my heart totally goes out to you and the kids.

    I was honestly surprised to hear his first cries when he was born.

    So glad everything worked out ok for you, and with that first miscarriage, I can totally understand why it devastated you, they say the first will always be the worst, and it’s probably true.

    The thing is, Karen, you and TTG have documented fertility together. That is huge.

    I know, I can’t tell you how amazed we were when we got pregnant, now I know that I can, it’s just a matter of time. I just know it.

    Dawn, so glad to hear you’ve got a job, hopefully things are looking up for you. Sending my love to you and M.

    To everybody else, thank you very much.


  • Karen, my condolences to you and your husband.


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