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Authors/Writers' Corner > Why can't God be in it?

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message 1: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Onuorah (michelleonuorah) | 45 comments I recently wrote a blog post and would love to dialogue about it.

I'm a writer. I'm a Christian. I like sex. But I haven't had it. I believe in waiting until marriage. But that doesn't mean I want my characters to.

As you can see, I have some conflicting issues going on. My latest release, Type N, has received mostly positive reviews but I did get a few digs for mentioning God - or even worse - Jesus - in the story.

I'm torn because as a writer, all I want to do is write a good story. But as a human, I also want to leave an imprint of myself in my work and a big part of myself is my spirituality. So tell me what you think.

Why can't God be in it? Even if it's a messy, sexy, pre-marital clusterfuck?

Original blog post here: http://www.goodreads.com/author_blog_...


Paganalexandria  | 4037 comments Keep in mind this coming from a backsliding PK. Sometimes Christian things get judged because of what other's view as chronic Christian hypocrisy on the regular, So when I see a conflicting message, my radar goes up. I'll use my main religion pet peeve as an example: Supposed Christians justifying anti-gay stance with bible references, while having pre-marital sex themselves. Sin is sin.

I haven't read the book but read your synopsis. I can totally see a character trying to commune with God to understand the miracle/curse outlined in your plot. That being said the only person who regularly seems to get a pass with mixing overt sexuality with the divine is Prince. It's provocative, so it really shouldn't be that surprising that it makes others uncomfortable. Isn't that the point of putting those concepts together? I mean there is a reason why people give the side-eye to the chick that shows up to church in micro-mini and flashing side boob. LOL


message 3: by Fiona (new)

Fiona McGier | 128 comments As long as the inclusion of spirituality and God is somehow hinted at on the cover, there should be no complaints. The whole point about trying to live like Jesus did is that it's not possible for anyone except Him...all the rest can do is try. Backsliding and making errors in judgement is to be expected.
For reviewers to "call you" on that is silly. But somehow the fact that the book has an inspirational tone should be either on the cover or the blurb.


message 4: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Onuorah (michelleonuorah) | 45 comments Paganalexandria wrote: "I mean there is a reason why people give the side-eye to the chick that shows up to church in micro-mini and flashing side boob. LOL "

LMAO!! That's definitely something to consider. I think I'm just trying to sort through this as a Christian who doesn't have it all figured out and wants to honestly reflect that in my work. I think life is a lot messier than than the conservative Christian genre allows for. And I also think it's more hopeful than the secular romance genre offers.

Thanks for sharing your thoughts :)


Paganalexandria  | 4037 comments Michelle wrote: "Thanks for sharing your thoughts :) "

You're welcome Michelle. I guess your just going to have to let your muse guide you in regards to how much faith plays a part in your story building. No matter what you do, there is no way to please everyone reading your novels. Especially, when dealing with religious matters.


message 6: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I'm going to move this to Writers/Author's Corner.


message 7: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Aug 28, 2013 09:08PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I don't even know if I want to open this can of worms!! I think Christians are as messed up as anyone else, but we get less license to be so, and I agree that a lot of that is the perception of hypocrisy. And there are a lot of prominent so-called Christians who aren't living what they profess.

Personally, I think that a huge part of being a Christian is living a life that is submitted to the words and mission of Jesus, and that means denying ourselves to some degree. Although more importantly we are Christians because we believe we are saved by grace alone. That Jesus died for all our sins and we are free to live a life of power through the free gift of salvation. Many, if not all of us, struggle with the old person and the new life in Christ and many lead sexual lives that don't back up our beliefs.

Do I believe that pre-martial sex is okay? No. Do I want to read about a professing, believing Christian living a life that is in denial of their beliefs and then expousing their faith? It's hard to say yes to that, but at the same time, I think it can be realistic. I'd prefer to read a book with characters who do have that tension, in the end, try to do right.

I personally don't like that perception that Christians are sexless. We are just as sexual as non-Christians, but our beliefs dictate how we should express our sexuality. A lot of the tension arises when Christians deny each other the right to be sexual and to find the way to express our sexuality and stay in line with Christ's teachings. However, that's to be expected, and Jesus died because we need help and we do need a savior.


message 8: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Oh to answer your question, many who don't believe are offended when God is involved in a story. I would like to read more books where God is a part of a person's life, because that is very much the way I live my life. I hope that helps.


message 9: by Tank (new)

Tank As an avid reader of many romance and erotica genres I do not expect to have religion brought up in any of my romance and/or erotica reads. I am also a no holds barred atheist. I do not ever want to unwittingly purchase a romance/erotica novel where religion is even discussed outside myth. I hope authors who incorporate and champion Judeo-Christian beliefs within their novels add a disclaimer or label of some sort. Failure to do so will inevitably incur the wrath and unending rants of non-believers. IMO, do yourself a favor and avoid the backlash by informing consumers at the outset.


message 10: by Paganalexandria (last edited Aug 28, 2013 09:45PM) (new)

Paganalexandria  | 4037 comments Christian's get less license because as a group tend to be so judgmental of others. A saying I say from time to time sums it up best, "I love Jesus, it's the people who claim to work for him that give me fits." Because once you start calling people out, everything you do becomes fair game. Especially, when it's obvious certain segments pick and chose what parts of the bible they deem more "important" basically to excuse their own sin vulnerabilities, and vilify yours.

Like I said, I'm a completely lapsed Christian, but grew up in a household that went to church 5 out of 7 days. Even though I'm "churched out", most of my core values stem from that vine. That being said, some of my favorite reads have found a way to mix sex and religion in thought provoking ways Memnoch the Devil (The Vampire Chronicles, #5) by Anne Rice Hell's Belles (Hell on Earth, #1) by Jackie Kessler . Anne Rice's Memnoch enforced this jacked stance I already had about God, Satan, and Job's situation. Jackie Kessler's book was the first book I ever read that painted demons in a favorable light. Warning, Jackie's book is also very subversive and not particularly Christian based.

Danielle, I believe my upbringing has given me a certain guilt about how I express my sexuality. Christian doesn't mean sexless, but I still see sex out of marriage as "sinful". I have sinned an awful lot though. LOL I think if you want characters to be sexual and Christian, it wouldn't hurt to have them repent afterwards as an acknowledgement.


message 11: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
@ Paganalexandria, I've often wondered why more Christian type romances don't explore marital intimacy (which is certainly a very ripe place to explore sexuality as a Christian). I think the perception is that we need to close the door on that. I don't necessarily agree with that.


message 12: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Aug 28, 2013 10:55PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Paganalexandria wrote: "Christian's get less license because as a group tend to be so judgmental of others. A saying I say from time to time sums it up best, "I love Jesus, it's the people who claim to work for him that g..."

Ah, good point. However, Christians are certainly not the only hypocrites. We just seem to be the poster child for it. I think a lot of Christians who never hurt anybody and who do live a life of love towards others as Jesus dictated get judged and lumped together with vocal professing Christians who are actually legalists. It's a problem within the community that hurts as many of us believers as it does non-believers.

I'm not going to try to defend Christians at this point, but I felt like this needed saying.


message 13: by Paganalexandria (last edited Aug 28, 2013 10:53PM) (new)

Paganalexandria  | 4037 comments Lady Danielle aka The Book Huntress wrote: "Ah, good point. However, Christians are certainly not the only hypocrites. We just seem to be the poster child for it. I think a lot of Christians who never hurt anybody and who do live a life of love towards others as Jesus dictated get judged and lumped together vocal professing Christians who are actually legalists. It's a problem within the community that hurts as many of us believers as it does non-believers."

Oh I totally get that. I also think lately people wear the moniker of Christian like it's the latest designer brand. Like it's an excuse to be better than everyone else. It makes sense on here, during this conversation to state your faith. But I give people the side-eye sometimes in real life when they make a big show of how Christian they are, like at work. It's been my experience that the Super-Christian at every job I've ever had is the most evil-backstabbing-tattle-telling person in the company. I have met some wonderful and beautiful Christians, but they allowed their light to shine. They didn't announce it every second of the day, while inferring everyone else was a heathen or going to hell.

I grew up with a grandmother who is extremely religious, but everyone in her community flocks to her. My whole life I have watched how she embraces everyone no matter their station in life. It drives me crazy sometimes because I have to protect her from her own generosity at times but she's my shinning example of what being Christian is supposed to be. She has that light that makes people curious enough to work at getting it for themselves.


message 14: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Your grandmother sounds like a very special lady, Paganalexandria.


Paganalexandria  | 4037 comments Lady Danielle aka The Book Huntress wrote: "Your grandmother sounds like a very special lady, Paganalexandria."

She really is. All my nieces and nephews little friends call her "Grandma", she was that to all my friends also, and all my mother's friends call her mother too. The funny thing she is has always been this kind of glamorous beautiful woman. When she was younger she looked like Eartha Kitt in her Catwoman days and even in her eighties still a size 4, rocks blonde hair, dressed to the nines everyday, and all with a naturally unlined faced. LOL


message 16: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Hehe. It does say in Psalm 40:31 that those who trust in the Lord will have their youth renewed. :)


message 17: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Onuorah (michelleonuorah) | 45 comments Wow! This conversation took off in ways I didn't even expect it to. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts. You've given me a lot to consider.

I think at the end of the day, I need to write what I feel led to write, regardless of how others may respond. I can understand though, not wanting the theme to be snuck in the story.


message 18: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Onuorah (michelleonuorah) | 45 comments 52ShadesofClay wrote: "As an avid reader of many romance and erotica genres I do not expect to have religion brought up in any of my romance and/or erotica reads. I am also a no holds barred atheist. I do not ever want t..."

Thanks for sharing your perspective. I can understand not wanting to spend money on what you would consider an unpleasant surprise. Now that I think about it, I suppose authors of steamy romances sometimes give the courtesy of a disclaimer as well, especially when giving an age bracket for who should read their work.

I'll write what I want but I don't think it would kill me to give a disclaimer as well :)


message 19: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Onuorah (michelleonuorah) | 45 comments Paganalexandria wrote: "Christian's get less license because as a group tend to be so judgmental of others. A saying I say from time to time sums it up best, "I love Jesus, it's the people who claim to work for him that g..."

Thanks for the recommendations. I'll have to check those out. At least the Anne Rice novel. As you all can tell, this is new territory for me. I am a professing Christian but I also want to write stories that feature characters who aren't necessarily and I would also like to explore that tension for believers who struggle.

I guess this also makes me wonder where I would find my readership as most people go completely secular or completely conservative. *sigh*


message 20: by Trickiegyrl (new)

Trickiegyrl | 27 comments There are two other books I've read that God had a prominent place in at least one of the character's life. Forgive Me Father for I Have Loved by Tiana Laveen and The Marriage Curve by Lori Crawford . The characters were wonderfully human, with realistic struggles, faith in God w/out apologizing for it and most importantly SEXUAL DESIRES!!!!

A synopsis of the story is my benchmark for buying. Will your book be available for Nook? I would dearly love to read it.


message 21: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Onuorah (michelleonuorah) | 45 comments Trickiegyrl wrote: "There are two other books I've read that God had a prominent place in at least one of the character's life. Forgive Me Father for I Have Loved by Tiana Laveen and Zora and Nicky A Novel in Black and White by Claudia Mair Burney - it's so raw and well-written.

I had some formatting issues with Nook but I do have the book in epub format. If you want, you can sign up for a read to review (there's still 1 spot open) and I'll send it to you for free in exchange for an honest review.

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...

Thank you for your interest in it :)



message 22: by Michelle (new)

Michelle Onuorah (michelleonuorah) | 45 comments Trickiegyrl wrote: "There are two other books I've read that God had a prominent place in at least one of the character's life. Forgive Me Father for I Have Loved by Tiana Laveen and [bookcover:The Marriage Cur..."

Hi Trickiegyrl (great username, btw!) - thanks for the recommendations. I will definitely check them out. If they're anything like Zora and Nicky by Claudia Mair Burney, I'm sure I will love them.

In answer to your question, thank you for your interest in reading my book. I had formatting issues with Nook so I haven't made it available in that format but if you want, you can sign up for the read to review and I would be happy to send you a copy in epub format for an honest review. There's still a spot left if you're interested:

http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/1...


message 23: by Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen) , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Aug 29, 2013 01:33PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Winter Frost Queen)  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
Michelle said: I guess this also makes me wonder where I would find my readership as most people go completely secular or completely conservative. *sigh*


That is an issue that many so called edgy Christian writers encounter. They can't get their books published by mainstream publishers because some readers consider them anathema, but the Christian publishers are often extremely narrow-minded and puritanical in their publishing guidelines and won't publish them either. I would like to see more small press publishing companies publish edgy/boundary-pushing books. Maybe my sister and I will start one.


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1211 comments Well, can we admit also that not every black person is Christian? I know pagan black people, Muslims, Buddhists, etc. They feel left out as characters just as they feel left out of the black community at large. I would like to see more exploration of how different faiths play out between characters. Though honestly, I would read a novel in which someone struggles with faith, all without slut-shaming or being anti-sex. That would make for a compelling tale.


message 25: by [deleted user] (new)

@TheFountainPenDiva I totally agree. I think as a writer @ Michelle, you should be able to write your own faith in your work. But does it undermine other faiths? I think as long as it doesn't do that, I don't see why it should be an issue.

Im not Christian myself. I wouldn't say Im a Buddhist yet, but I've been studying it for years, and I do think it's the right spiritual path for me. This is not to say I don't support Christianity. But I also think since I'm open to questioning, I find that all spiritual paths are just different ways to become better people.

I'd love to more characters who are proud of their faith, but open to the great things other religions can teach them :D


Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1437 comments Michelle wrote: "I recently wrote a blog post and would love to dialogue about it.

I'm a writer. I'm a Christian. I like sex. But I haven't had it. I believe in waiting until marriage. But that doesn't mean I want..."

This is just a case of not being able to please everyone. I have NO issue with references to faith in my romance reading. If I wasn't a believer, I suppose maybe it would bother me? But I don't think so. I mean, I don't agree with every facet of most characters personalities. I disagree with some core beliefs when I read books all the time. But its fiction and I assume I'm not meant to identify with every single detail a character exhibits.

I think there is a difference between demonstrating that a character has a belief and "shoving down the throats" of the readers. If you aren't doing that, forget the negativity and file it under Can't Please Everyone.lol


Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1437 comments And I think that its very telling that as soon as we start mentioning God, it goes to Christianity, fake Christians and all that LOL.

If I HAVE to identify, I'd call myself Christian. I believe in Jesus Christ. Do I subscribe to a ton of church dogma? Nope, not really. I grew up in church, identify with the culture but have my own feelings about whats necessary as a believer. So I think a lot of it stems from what society assumes it means to have a belief in God.


message 28: by Ren (new)

Ren | 291 comments Personally, I think it is all in how you write and I think I would enjoy reading a book like that. For one, it's not realistic....Christians have sex. I also believe there is a way to write a book where you are able to have a focus on God and be able have sexual relations between your characters.

For instance.....I've read historical romance novels for years and they almost never have pre-marital sex. On occasion yes, but usually it's after marriage and sometimes it's an arranged marriage. If they are married in the book.....go for it!! Even if they are not you can still write it in such a way where it's not hypocritical, because the truth is it's probably more realistic than the waiting for marriage.


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