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IR Author Discussion > Suzanne Brockmann

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message 1: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Cullars | 33 comments I like Suzanne Brockmann, but I have a problem the way mainstream readers seem to think she's the only one in the game when it comes to I/R books. As I said in my article, those readers will read a vampire lover book but will blanch at an I/R couple...unless the story is written by a white author. To me that's just outright hypocritical.

Embracing the Other - post by Suzanne Brochmann


message 2: by Debbie (new)

Debbie (halfpint66) | 221 comments LOVE SB!!!


message 3: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
I love Sam. He's my baby! I love Alyssa and Ashton too. I love Dave and Sophia as well.

I'm not an author, but I do write interracial stories. I'll read a good interracial story as long as it's not erotic and it's a catcher and it must have romance in it. The race of the author doesn't matter to me.


message 4: by Debbie (new)

Debbie (halfpint66) | 221 comments The author doesn't matter to me either as long as the story is good.


message 5: by Sharon (last edited Aug 28, 2013 11:36PM) (new)

Sharon Cullars | 33 comments It's not so much that white authors shouldn't write I/R. But black writers like Sandra Kitt get shafted in promotion and just acknowledgment. Mainstream readers act as though IR and MC books are not being written (except when white writers pen them). You have a bevy of wonderful writers of color who are patently ignored. That's my particular beef with this. Just think of Seressia Glass, Pepper Pace, Roslyn Holcomb, Crystal Hubbard, Lisa Riley and many others who don't even get reviewed on sites like Dear Author.


message 6: by Fiona (new)

Fiona McGier | 128 comments I've been published for 4 years and have 13 books out and I've never been reviewed on Dear Author! No matter how many time I ask, they aren't interested. Maybe you have to have a certain level of sales? Ditto other review sites. I know they get swamped with requests, but after so many times, you'd think they'd throw me a bone and review something...if for nothing else than to get me to leave them alone!

But you're right about the lack of attention for black writers. It's getting better, since the days when a blonde heroine was shown on the cover when the book was about a black female, and when the author complained, she was told, "No one reads romances about black women." Those big publishers are so irritating! That's why I'm not crying about them losing market share to indie pubs.

Readers need to keep buying the kinds of books they want to read, and the authors will respond by writing more. Simple, and yet so extremely difficult!


message 7: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Aug 28, 2013 08:55PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I don't want to mean or rude, but I don't find Suzanne Brockmann to be the best romance author. I think she is better at action and suspense than romance. I have enjoyed a few of her books a lot, but there is something that feels unengaged when I read her books, except for Sam and Alyssa. I think she had the one big chance to draw me in and she used it up with that couple. I have several of her books after Gone Too Far, but no big urge to dive back into the series.


And honestly, I dislike about 90% of her heroines. They are irritating to the extreme and plain emotionally abusive to the heroes. I have to be honest, I like to like the heroine when I read a book, so that's an issue.

I can see your point, Sharon. I do think that SB made IR more mainstream and less scary for narrow-minded folks in the US, but she definitely isn't a better author than many of the less-popular IR authors I've read.

At the same time, I don't blame her for that. I blame the deeply entrenched racism in the American society. At least she is one of the people out there trying to expand the average romance reader's racial boundaries.


message 8: by Nadine (new)

Nadine (peanutsmom) | 81 comments Is Suzanne Brockmann even a romance writer, I believe her books are more action and suspense with hints of romance which is what I prefer. Maybe the reason why she is known more throughout mainstream readers is that she focuses less on the romance and more on the action which is what will draw a more general crowd of readers.

I think more mainstream readers are apt to read the hot book of the moment I know that is how my mom chooses books outside of her norm. When I try to recommend certain books to her she always states she is not into romance, but she likes the Berger/Mitry and Starletta Duval books due to the mystery/suspense.


message 9: by Sharon (last edited Aug 28, 2013 11:32PM) (new)

Sharon Cullars | 33 comments I've been reviewed at least twice on DA. However, they do not respond to any direct requests from me, and the two reviews happened months and months after my initial publication. I know of one black author who will not deal with them anymore (even though I may comment occasionally on the site, I have thrown up my hands) because she says they have racist practices. Case in point, she submitted one of her releases under her name and was told they couldn't read the book (for whatever reasons). She then had a white friend submit the same book, and they gushed as they accepted it.

The SB article irritated me and other authors because she seemed to be taking credit for breaking down barriers regarding IR and same-sex books when those books were being written by WOC and gay writers way before she came along; the books were just segregated.

And yes, the market is definitely racist (which I tried to address in my article about readers who can't "relate" to heroines of color). Actually DA reviewed an IR (BM/WW) book recently and my name came up in the comments as a WOC whose book had been reviewed. So I piped in with my article and was told by the reviewer Sunita that:

"@Sharon Cullars: Thanks for the link, that was a really interesting article. I haven’t watched Scandal but the connection makes sense.

I’ve run across quite a few readers who don’t want to read about heroes and heroines of a difference race/ethnicity, who aren’t conventionally racist or bigoted (some are quite vocally liberal and/or supporters of social justice issues). I think they see their attitudes as being about what types of physical characteristics they are personally attracted to, and they don’t necessarily make the connection that their ideas of attractiveness are encoded with racial/ethnic baggage. I’m not sure anything other than time and generational replacement will change that tendency among the readership."

No, they may not be "conventionally racist", but they are hardly progressive when they will not read about people of other races (but have no problems with vampires and werewolves). That really says something about their general racism.

And trust me, writing books is not a hobby. As much as I love writing, I and other writers would love to make a decent living solely with the books (esp. since I haven't worked steadily since being laid off in my mid-40s over six years ago).

So what we have is a situation where black women will eagerly read books by white authors but there is no reciprocity on the part of white readers. Basically, one reviewer at DA alluded to our books as being "sub-par." There are too many excellent WOC writers for that to be deemed true.

Ironically, one of the DA reviewers wrote an article about how the market should open up to more multi-cultural books...but said in a roundabout way that these multicultural books should be by white authors. Because again, IR and multicultural books written by black authors are "sub-par"...at least in their view.


message 10: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (last edited Aug 28, 2013 11:27PM) (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
That quote you included, that's like nails on a chalkboard to me. I think it shows that many can choose to close their minds, but many of us don't have that choice and as a result, we have become more open minded and see the forest for the trees.

In America, racism is so deeply entrenched, that it's like an almost invisible elephant, except one part of our population cannot help but see it or be stomped on by the elephant that many claim doesn't exist.

Black people tend to be avid readers and partakers of pop culture in its many forms, and we tend to be slapped on the hand when we call out the racism that makes it difficult for us to even see POC on tv, in movies, or in books when we spend lots of money to read and watch.

I do see Suzanne Brockmann as having done something good for the romance world, but she's not the only one. There are a lot of unsung heroes who have done just as much but didn't get credit for it.


message 11: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Cullars | 33 comments Lady Danielle aka The Book Huntress wrote: "That quote you included, that's like nails on a chalkboard to me. I think it shows that many can choose to close their minds, but many of us don't have that choice and as a result, we have become ..."

Exactly Danielle. And let's not talk about misappropriation of our culture (*cough* Justin Timberlake, Miley Cyrus *cough*). Now they want to take the mantle as writers of multicultural/IR books...and leave writers of color out in the cold.


Paganalexandria  | 4060 comments Sharon wrote: "So what we have is a situation where black women will eagerly read books by white authors but there is no reciprocity on the part of white readers. Basically, one reviewer at DA alluded to our books as being "sub-par." There are too many excellent WOC writers for that to be deemed true. "

I saw that sub-par inference in comments after Dmitry's Closet (The Medlov Crime Family, #1) by Latrivia S. Nelson was reviewed on that site. Granted that book has some major editing issues but there were tons of comments on that thread inferring anyone who liked that book are almost illiterate themselves, so they don't notice the errors. Who reads IR? Mainly black women, so I took that extremely personal. That is actually the moment when I quit DA. It was already annoying that if you dare to have a different opinion will have their post dissected and ridiculed by the troll army.


message 13: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
@Paganalexandria: I think that some of that hating on Dmitry's Closet is because it was such a huge success, and it's become a lot more mainstream for an IR than many others. I won't deny the editing errors, but there are plenty of non-IR with poor editing.


message 14: by Tina (last edited Aug 29, 2013 06:08AM) (new)

Tina | 8 comments The problem isn't Suzanne Brockmann or other white writers who choose to write IR novels. Good for them for their inclusiveness.

It also isn't a blogging site where the members largely choose to review what they like to read. In the end it all comes down to their taste.

And a lot of times it isn't even the reader who isn't open to reading something out of their comfort zone. For instance all things being equal, I probably won't pick up a lesbian romance. I am not attracted to other women therefore I would be hard pressed to get emotionally invested in that romance. This is probably short sighted as a good writer could probably make me invested, case in point the tv show The Fosters which features a lesbian couple which I just love.

The bigger issue is that romance is at it's core a very conservative and yeah...racist industry.

Let's talk about Harlequin for a minute because honestly I think Harlequin could have done better by black authors.

Harlequin is an industry standard. It's name is synonymous with romance. If there was one publishing company that could have made a sea change in reception of black romance writers it could have been Harlequin. And yet to this day Harlequin refuses to include black couples or black heroines in it's main lines with any regularity. Any time they do, they treat it like it is some special prize. A fucking after school special.

Presents is their marquee line and over the years how many black heroines have they had? They have one top performing black author in Brenda Jackson who writes mainly for Blaze. Yes they have the Kimani line but that, imo, is a sop to black readers. It is segregation and and easy way to steer white readers away from black romances. And the submission guidelines for Kimani don't grant authors a lot freedom in how to craft their heroine as a character.

If you think about writers like Suzanne Brockmann, Nora Roberts, Sandra Brown, Linda Howard etc. they all got their start writing in the category lines. Those were like the farm team that groomed you before you stepped up to the majors. These writers were able to hone their craft and had the name brand and money of an industry giant behind them to lead them to readers.

Readers are creatures of habit. They read by author a lot of times. There is a reason the author's name on the cover is usually twice the size of title. And despite the rise of indies and e-books, the vast majority of readers in romance today have had their tastes and preferences informed by trad pubbed romances which did not include black authors by and large.

Black authors either had to be published by smaller presses, presses that were known to be minority in nature or go indie. But to grow a readership where they buy by your name alone, you need to be marketed. When I get an ARC for a trad pubbed book, a lot of times the publisher has outlined the marketing they plan to do. We are talking a couple 100 thousand dollars worth of marketing, complete with newspaper ads, book tours and street teams. Unfortunately, small presses and indie authors do not have the marketing muscle that trad pubs do and can't compete with type of exposure.

So to me, an author like SB patting herself on the back for being inclusive is small potatoes. She did write a group of addictive books and did introduce a black heroine that white readers loved.

But the problem that this thread seems to be addressing is much bigger and more insidious than Suzanne Brockmann. It is a long standing one that the industry has never tried to address and frankly doesn't feel the need to course correct on.

Re: Dmitry's Closert. I know it is successful and popular in this group but honestly that book does not stand up to critical scrutiny. When I saw that DA was reviewing that book I cringed. IMO, DC is not a good representative of IR romance, sorry. Yes the Dear Author commentariat by and large really don't know how to check their privilege (#solidarityisforwhitewomen after all)so Dmitry's Closet was like blood in the water. I agreed with the initial review though. But the comment thread was a clusterfuck. And it doesn't help that with Dmitry's Closet it is like Fans attack! Whenever you say anything remotely uncomplimentary about that book, fans of that book descend and try to club you into obsolescence.


message 15: by Paganalexandria (last edited Aug 29, 2013 09:15AM) (new)

Paganalexandria  | 4060 comments Tina wrote: "Re: Dmitry's Closert. I know it is successful and popular in this group but honestly that book does not stand up to critical scrutiny. When I saw that DA was reviewing that book I cringed. IMO, DC is not a good representative of IR romance, sorry. Yes the Dear Author commentariat by and large really don't know how to check their privilege (#solidarityisforwhitewomen after all)so Dmitry's Closet was like blood in the water. I agreed with the initial review though. But the comment thread was a clusterfuck. And it doesn't help that with Dmitry's Closet it is like Fans attack! Whenever you say anything remotely uncomplimentary about that book, fans of that book descend and try to club you into obsolescence. "

Tina, you are so right about Dmitry's Closet having a passionate fan base. It's almost like bringing Fifty Shades of Grey (another popular book that DA hated) up on a thread, in a way. Personally if that book didn't mix the Russian mob with IR, the editing issues would have made it a DNF for me. I was so engrossed in original theme and Dmitry that I forgave things like "premadonna". I reread of that series this summer and marked all the errors and I was embarrassed for the writer. It's why even though I love it, I'm embarrassed to recommend it to anyone not a fan of this sub-genre.

That being said I did post in the comments. I didn't go all fangirl but some of those commenters are off the chain. I previously made my first comment on a post about Doxing. I have visited that site for years but never paid attention to the comments section until I get reamed for politely answering the question posed by the blogger. I thought the over-the-top response was due to the subject matter. The Dmitry's Closet debacle showed me that the temperature over there is just always set on nasty. My problem isn't the blogger (I actually commend her for shutting the comments down on the Dmitry Closet post), but that experience kind of ruined that place for me.


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1215 comments I think Roslyn and Sharon should brainstorm and pen a blog post called "Dear Suzanne Brockmann" where you give her a detailed history of AA and IR romance, which did not begin with her--the late, lamented Odyssey Press from back in the late 1980's comes instantly to mind. And I do remember them because I was shocked to have seen one of their books--with a black couple on the cover--at Waldenbooks. You two should let her know there are so many brilliant black authors of romance out there who are on par with her, Nora Roberts and the rest, and yet struggle harder to gain half the rewards. Let her know how disheartening it is when your work and those of other black women romance authors is relegated to second-class status. And certainly mention the RACISM of the romance publishing industry, especially sites like "Dear Author". I'm willing to bet such a blog post will scorch the web and generate some much needed and brutally honest dialogue.


message 17: by Sharon (last edited Aug 29, 2013 10:31AM) (new)

Sharon Cullars | 33 comments I'm going to definitely expand on this on my blog. IIRC, I do think Roz actually emailed or commented on a previous Brockmann post sometime prior to this regarding the freezing out of black authors in the mainstream multicultural market. I don't think Brockmann responded.

As for DA, I remember Monica Jackson (RIP) going head to head with them (as has Roz) as well as AAR about the intrinsic racism in their reviews and their marketing. But as has been pointed out, the market itself is racist (imagine 60 year old teabaggers). And the major sites simply will not address that issue, at least not regarding the market but more the industry.

The one reviewer who took on the issue was Karen of Karen Knows Best and I give kudos to her because she was straight upfront about the market. Unfortunately, calling folk out on their racism makes them defensive and they tune you out.

I don't even think it's a matter of generations changing as Surita suggested. I think even younger generations will just carry on the tradition.

All the writers of color can do is keep putting out good works with good plots. And thankfully, there are review sites of color. It's now a matter of growing the market. As it is romance takes a trouncing as a sub-genre that many readers consider sub-par in itself. Add color to the mix, and it becomes even more of a hurdle.

As for my own book experience, I give kudos to Sandra Kitt and her Color of Love of introducing me to I/R literature. Read that book several times including some of her other works. Don't hear much about her lately.


message 18: by Tina (new)

Tina | 8 comments While I think a blog post re: the history of Af-Am writers/characters in romance by someone who is aware of the history would be very welcome, I do not see the value in making it a pointed response to Suzanne Brockmann.

When I read her essay, I saw it as her attempt to explain her personal experience in trying to be inclusive in romance when the industry was trying to warn her not to be. And to be fair she also says that she was noticing inclusion all over the genre at the same time she was doing her thing and she gives credit to vocal readers for that. I did not see it as a someone taking credit for anything.

I don't think anyone disputes that there are tons of talented black authors. Heck, I think Judith Smith Levin was criminally ignored and poorly treated by her publisher re: getting her books out there. I get ragey when I think of it.

But it is an industry issue. Frankly, I have less of a problem with white authors who do choose to write IR romances or include POC in their stories than those who won't do it because they are afraid of not representing POC correctly.


message 19: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Cullars | 33 comments I will discuss the industry and the market in general but I will address the racism inherent in the omission of marketing for black writers. I have to work it out in my head.


message 20: by Tina (new)

Tina | 8 comments Sharon- I'd love to read your post when you get it done. Are you going to link it here?


Paganalexandria  | 4060 comments Sharon, thanks for hipping me to that Karen Knows Best blog. I just got caught up there for an hour.


message 22: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Cullars | 33 comments Yes I will provide a link here. And you're welcome Pagan. I love Karen's blog. She is a London chick who knows a lot about the American romance industry.


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1215 comments Tina--re read her blog post, and while I do find it somewhat "give me a brownie button-ish", her story does resonate with many I've heard from white authors who try to diversify their characters. So you're definitely correct it's an industry issue.

I'm just totally FRUSTRATED that so many uber-talented black women romance authors are given short shrift and judged on a different standard. I have read A LOT of sub-par books from white authors that got raves from the EPIC FAIL that is DA. I have other reasons to give them a double-finger salute as well. And yes, that means as unfair as it is, we a readers and writers have to dot our i's and cross our t's everytime. Our works just HAVE to be better. I saw the clusterfuck surrounding Dmitry's Closet as well, and though I gave the book high marks for Dmitry's character (I love anti-heroes), there's no getting around the bad editing and my personal bugbear, the weak characterization of Royal.

Interestingly enough, the GLBT community is having a similar conversation about straight white women co-opting their lives and making lots of money. I've noticed that a lot of M/M writers have NEVER read gay fiction written by actual gay authors. In fact, some didn't even know the sub-genre existed way before slash fiction or M/M romance. Guess they missed Radclyffe Hall, John Preston, Gordon Merrick and Melvin Dixon--just to name a few in my collection.


Paganalexandria  | 4060 comments TheFountainPenDiva wrote: "Interestingly enough, the GLBT community is having a similar conversation about straight white women co-opting their lives and making lots of money. I've noticed that a lot of M/M writers have NEVER read gay fiction written by actual gay authors. In fact, some didn't even know the sub-genre existed way before slash fiction or M/M romance. Guess they missed Radclyffe Hall, John Preston, Gordon Merrick and Melvin Dixon--just to name a few in my collection. "

Diva, co-opting another's cultures art forms, pretending that you came up with it, and of course making more money than the originators is a long held American tradition. It's not surprising that includes the written word too.


message 25: by Tina (new)

Tina | 8 comments TheFountainPenDiva wrote: "Interestingly enough, the GLBT community is having a similar conversation about straight white women co-opting their lives and making lots of money. I've noticed that a lot of M/M writers have NEVER read gay fiction written by actual gay authors. "

Yup. Not only that, but some of these women writers were actively passing themselves off as gay men in media and online interviews. It is one thing to write under a pseudonym, but to try to pass? That is effed up!
.


message 26: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Cullars | 33 comments Tina wrote: "TheFountainPenDiva wrote: "Interestingly enough, the GLBT community is having a similar conversation about straight white women co-opting their lives and making lots of money. I've noticed that a l..."

Oh God, I didn't know that. Wonder if they'll try to co-opt the IR and multicultural market by "blackening" their names? Yeah, that's messed up.


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1215 comments Oh, the whole A.J. Llewyllyn debacle. You should have seen the fireworks in the M/M Romance forum. In fact, two new groups splintered off from that larger one due to the rampant transphobia and disrespect of actual GLBTQ voices.

I do read M/M romance, but being old school, I've been reading GLBTQ fiction for decades. Some non-GLBTQ authors are mindful that they're playing in someone else's sandbox and approach their characters with respect. Then there's "Lotus in the Wild" (see my scathing review) that was chock-filled with gobs of unmitigated racefail and stereotyped characterizations of gay men.

Frankly, I'm far less cheesed by Suzanne Brockmann. I love Sam and Alyssa and honestly, she's done a better job with those two than most of her other couples (though I have a soft spot for Jules). If any author ticks me off hugely, it's J.R. Ward. Thanks for co-opting huge swaths of hip-hop culture yet whitewashing PoC's out of it. And what really pisses me off is that self-same readership who will swear on a stack of bibles that they don't "relate" to "urban" culture, eat up every damn word Ward writes. The hypocrisy just makes me face-palm. Not to mention, most IR/AA romances are NOT always "urban" based. Billy London's books are set in the UK, for instance. We've got stories set on western ranches, suburbs and big cities. Nor do the characters speak ebonics.


message 28: by Tina (new)

Tina | 8 comments http://loveinthemargins.com/ is a new blog (just about two weeks old) where their mission statement is about reviewing romances that don't seem to get traction in other review sites, featuring characters of color, disabled characters, LGBT etc. It is started by some Goodreads members.

I was just perusing it and so far in the two weeks they've been live they've already reviewed two Af-Am romances and one SF book featuring a queer heroine of color. Looks promising.


message 29: by Fiona (new)

Fiona McGier | 128 comments Thanks for the link to that new blog. I hope they do well.


message 30: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
If a book is going to have the word romance on it, then I want to see romance. With that said, how many black authors are writing interracial romance stories about Navy Seals, FBI Agents, Dangerous Bad Boys, etc? I like to read stories where there is action. I know that racism is alive and well today, but when I read an interracial book by an black author, I don't want to see the couple split up behind racism or even the couple doubting they are good enough for the other person. I don't want no ex boyfriend or husband or even girlfriend or wife drama. I don't want to see the hero wanting to be with the heroine, because of her body.

I'm sure Sam and Alyssa probably faced racism, but I'm glad that Suzanne hasn't written that into the story. Again, yes racism is alive and well today, but not eveyone want to use lazer eyes on an interracial couple.

Sorry for being off topic.


message 31: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I agree with you that I want to see more IR books with dangerous heroes and action/suspense situations. I am a danger/action hound and this a huge draw to me as a reader. I get pretty darn bored with the same boy meets girl storyline, even if it's IR romance. That used to be enough to attract me to an IR book. Now I realize I need more of a story instead of just the typical boy meets girl romance (and crazy sex doesn't fill the void for me).


message 32: by Paganalexandria (last edited Sep 06, 2013 08:26PM) (new)

Paganalexandria  | 4060 comments Tina wrote: "http://loveinthemargins.com/ is a new blog (just about two weeks old) where their mission statement is about reviewing romances that don't seem to get traction in other review sites, featuring ch..."

I am loving this thread because its provided some new places to visit on the internet. Tina, I got totally absorbed in that blog you posted. There was a link to another blog that successfully combined Mylie Cyrus's VMA performance with the racial segregation practiced in the feminist movement on: http://battymamzelle.blogspot.com/201...

I am not a feminist on any level but found this article fascinating. Especially, the links about the supposed male feminist that is also an admitted rapist who had a some kind of twitter melt down. Reading all these tweets with the hashtag #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen is both illuminating and saddening because I can co-sign almost every point. I would never put myself in the feminist camp because of my own quickness to exploit my own femininity at times in my life to get over. It makes me almost sexist at times because of constantly believing men can be so dumb and easy to manipulate. That being said I never had more than a surface interest in feminist politics. Yet, have always been aware of how society places a lower currency value on a black woman's sexuality.


message 33: by Tina (new)

Tina | 8 comments Yeah, Loveinthemargins has a recent 'Open letter to Harlequin' somewhat mirroring my rant from above. Roslyn Holcomb makes some great comments.

And yeah, the #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen thing was crazy bananas as it was happening (weeks before the VMA stuff) but my God, a powerful wake up call for the white feminist community. It made for excellent reading on twitter though and trended worldwide with all women of color all over the world commenting. Powerful stuff.


Paganalexandria  | 4060 comments Tina wrote: "Yeah, Loveinthemargins has a recent 'Open letter to Harlequin' somewhat mirroring my rant from above. Roslyn Holcomb makes some great comments.

And yeah, the #SolidarityIsForWhiteWomen thing was ..."


Tina, I totally missed it because of my distrust of twitter in general. In real life, I'm the person who says off the wall things that seems to keep those around me pretty amused. I don't need proof of all my smart-assness coming back to haunt later. It's just asking for trouble. Especially, with all the normal people losing jobs because of social media. Facebook is easier for me to police. I have a twitter but only signed up when Charlie Sheen was losing his mind and his tweets made for epic reading pleasure. LOL


Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1490 comments Nadine wrote: "Is Suzanne Brockmann even a romance writer, I believe her books are more action and suspense with hints of romance which is what I prefer. Maybe the reason why she is known more throughout mainstr..."

I consider her a romance author. The problem with most books considered to be romance are that they have no story beyond the couple stupidly creating one b.s. obstacle to their ultimate union after another. The difference with books like Brockmann's is that her h/h have REAL issues causing them problems lol.


message 36: by Gigi (new)

Gigi (giselealtagracia) | 229 comments Arch wrote: "If a book is going to have the word romance on it, then I want to see romance. With that said, how many black authors are writing interracial romance stories about Navy Seals, FBI Agents, Dangerous..."

Completely agreeing with you here, Arch! Loved Sam and Alysah because of the suspense, the Navy Seals, FBI agents and all the troubleshooting. I didn't care the author was white, I just cared about the story and the characters.

I just love to read romance books with actions and suspense and prefer if the protagonists are multicultural. But I don't need to be constantly reminded of the fact that they are. And the angst driven problem regarding racism etc authors keep dragging up in most stories is getting quite old frankly.
It's probably because I'm Dutch-Caribbean and living in the Netherlands. The multicultural society here seems to be a tad different from what the American situation is. Being in an interracial relationship myself (and most of my friends are part of mixed race couples) I can't really comprehend the racism aspect most of the IR books I've read keep making such a big deal of. It just don't matter over here. Much.

(to get back on topic) As for an IR author being black or white, if you ask little Dutch naive me: I would say that I would like more multicultural/ir fiction written by any author (white, black, yellow or a mix of all of the before mentioned, female or male). I don’t really care what race (or sex for that matters) the author is as long as the story is believable and good and captivating and keeps me in suspense and gives me a HEA in case of IR stories. (This is something I also stated on Roslyn Holcombs website on a similar slightly different topic)

However after reading Sharon's posts here (who I believe is one of the best IR authors out there, I truly loved A Battle Raging, reread it 4 times already!!!) I totally get the frustration. I didn't know the practice of ignoring the black authors by that review site (I didn't even know the site) and what is considered mainstream public. For sure gave me food for further thought.


message 37: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
I don't care what race an author is. Back in the day, a lot of books didn't even have pictures of authors and maybe they should go back to that. In my opinion, an author's race doesn't make a story a good read. Just because an author is the opposite race of her/his characters it doesn't mean that they can't write the story. I'm black and that doesn't mean that I can't have an Asian character in my story. One of my future stories will have an Asian hero. I mostly write bwwm stories, but I will write a story with an Asian hero. I have written a story when I was younger with an Asian hero.

Suzanne Brockmann is a romance writer and I think she did a good job with my baby Sam and his wife Alyssa and my other baby Dave and his wife Sophia. I'm a fan of the characters.


message 38: by Gigi (new)

Gigi (giselealtagracia) | 229 comments Arch wrote: "I don't care what race an author is. Back in the day, a lot of books didn't even have pictures of authors and maybe they should go back to that. In my opinion, an author's race doesn't make a story..."

And we keep on agreeing :-)
Every time I read the argument 'only a black female author can perfectly create and captivate the true essence of a black heroine' I go "Huh? Seriously? If that is the case, how do we explain a black female author creating a white hero in the interracial story? Am I to believe that this white hero is also just a caricature because he wasn’t thought up by a white person? Isn’t the definition of a good author (regardless what genetic make up he/she has) not somebody who can develop characters everybody can believe in, period? When I went to writers school the teacher never told me that I should stick to writing stories about little plump loudmouthed black she-devils because that's the only woman I could describe considering I am one. He said: go out there and just create.

Anyways, looking forward to your new story with the Asian hero (I like me some Asian heroes ;-))


message 39: by Sharon (new)

Sharon Cullars | 33 comments My peeve isn't that white writers create black characters. The problem is when they are lauded for doing what black writers have been doing for decades and when their books are marketed more and accepted more by the mainstream (and in some cases, I/R) reading audience.

As it is, I'm changing course and for my next book will be writing another paranormal featuring an all white H/H pairing. It should be interesting to see if this pairing is more readily accepted (will do this under a pen name).


message 40: by Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (last edited Oct 08, 2013 10:20AM) (new)

Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1490 comments I'm gonna go off the rails a bit here and make an admission.

While I truly believe and LIVE a life where most of my thoughts and actions have very little to do with color, I do think that I prefer my black heroines to show at least SOME cultural shading. I'm not talkin about head swiveling caricatures, just the basic....FLAVOR that I honestly believe most AA women carry with them. Sure, if you are raised never exposed to it, you may not have it. Just saying most do and I love seeing it blended with a character who is well spoken, classy, and well rounded. So in that light I would understand a white author being hesitant- that type of subtle nuance is difficult to "research" and knowing when to inject it into a scene so it doesn't come off as the caricature thing can be tough I imagine. I hope I'm making sense! lol, its just that in most things if a person wasn't LOOKING at me they may not even realize I'm black. however there are reactions, ways and instinctive things that pop indeed from time to time becausr I was raised in the AA culture. That takes a subtle and talented hand to convey without (firsthand knowledge and while I LOVE Samand Alyssa I did kind of wish she had a lil more ummm.....flavor here and there. I appreciate black women being written simply AS women, but I do like having something personality wise that I can relate to culturally with the personality.


message 41: by The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (last edited Oct 08, 2013 11:02AM) (new)

The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1215 comments Savannah~Quad-motherin'-book readin' diva wrote: "I'm gonna go off the rails a bit here and make an admission.

While I truly believe and LIVE a life where most of my thoughts and actions have very little to do with color, I do think that I prefer..."


The problem with that, at least for myself, is what "cultural markers" are you talking about? A Nigerian woman may not have the same ideas or do things similarly to a Afro-Caribbean woman or an African-American one, but they are still considered "black". I'm not trying to misunderstand your point, but I'm really not comfortable with the whole idea of certain ways of "blackness". I've dealt with way too many so-called "gatekeepers" in the past, so I tend to give such things the side-eye. I would much rather have us written diversely and THE COVERS and character descriptions reflecting that diversity.


Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1490 comments I get that- that's why I said AA. IF I'm reading about a black woman from a different country, I definitely wouldn't be let down by a lack of AA culture in the character. By that same token, I would hope for the acceptance of that shading in readers outside the demographic, ya know?


message 43: by Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (last edited Oct 08, 2013 05:42PM) (new)

Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1490 comments I just don't have an issue with reflecting AA culture AS a culture. I just see an all or nothing type of thing going on where AA women are either stereotyped or left without anything that denotes being raised black in America and it impacts my enjoyment of the story sometimes. I don't want to be a stereotype, but at the same time I don't like seeing all cultural influence ignored. that's not about excluding anyone to me. Its about inclusion.


The FountainPenDiva, Old school geek chick and lover of teddy bears (thefountainpendiva) | 1215 comments Got it, and thanks so much for clarifying.

I would say it also depends on how and where someone was raised in how they experience or live the culture. For instance, there's a group of extremely wealthy black people in the north whose kids attend exclusive private schools and vacation in Europe every year. If someone were to write a romance novel featuring such characters, would some consider them black because they don't fit societal notions of "blackness"? Where would those markers be? What would they be?

Our culture is so varied and yet the media seems to be unhealthily focused on small aspects of it. I'd like to see more variety.

Thanks again for the reply.


message 45: by Danielle The Book Huntress , Sees Love in All Colors (new)

 Danielle The Book Huntress  (gatadelafuente) | 7314 comments Mod
I agree with TFPD on evidence of blackness. That is a real sore point for many black people. What declares us as black to others. I don't think it's as consistent as it's portrayed and I'd rather an author not go there if they don't know how to do that without stereotyping. If you know a person and you sensitively base your character on a real person, I can't argue with that, but if you make assumptions, then you're going to end up with egg on your face.

I would say about 60% of the time, I don't find myself heavily identifying with AA female characters in IR and AA romance books I've read. I may find myself identifying more with a white character in a lot of circumstances. Although I do agree with you Savannah, that there is an African-American diaspora culture at large that does tinge most of us in some way.


message 46: by Arch , Mod (new)

Arch  | 6601 comments Mod
Altagracia wrote: "And we keep on agreeing :-)
Every time I read the argument 'only a black female author can perfectly create and captivate the true essence of a black heroine' I go "Huh? Seriously? If that is the case, how do we explain a black female author creating a white hero in the interracial story? Am I to believe that this white hero is also just a caricature because he wasn’t thought up by a white person? Isn’t the definition of a good author (regardless what genetic make up he/she has) not somebody who can develop characters everybody can believe in, period? When I went to writers school the teacher never told me that I should stick to writing stories about little plump loudmouthed black she-devils because that's the only woman I could describe considering I am one. He said: go out there and just create.

Anyways, looking forward to your new story with the Asian hero (I like me some Asian heroes ;-))

"


Every writer should embrace imagination. If a writer can't imagine, then how can they write a story?

I don't relate to a lot of heroines, but that doesn't mean I can't read about them.

It will be a while, before I write my bwam story. It will be a best friend story.


message 47: by Gigi (last edited Oct 09, 2013 11:43AM) (new)

Gigi (giselealtagracia) | 229 comments Danielle The Book Huntress wrote: "I agree with TFPD on evidence of blackness. That is a real sore point for many black people. What declares us as black to others. I don't think it's as consistent as it's portrayed and I'd rather ..."

Talking about 'evidence of blackness': just a few days ago I was actually in America (West Coast road trip) and we ended up at a party where I got engaged in a conversation in which my blackness was questioned because I was European. First for me to even have to talk about 'my blackness' was quite disconcerting and then I had to wrap my mind around the fact that me being Dutch made me less black. Huh? Mind boggling.
But I guess I'm really getting off topic here...so moving along.


message 48: by Gigi (new)

Gigi (giselealtagracia) | 229 comments Sharon wrote: "My peeve isn't that white writers create black characters. The problem is when they are lauded for doing what black writers have been doing for decades and when their books are marketed more and ac..."
Oh, I got that Sharon and totally agreeing that just ain't right.


message 49: by Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (last edited Oct 09, 2013 10:47AM) (new)

Savannah- Quad Motherin' Book Readin' Diva (quadmom2005) | 1490 comments By no means could what I'd personally prefer fit every reader. At best it would be authentic to many, but not all. And again, I'm talking about subtle things that seem to resonate with a lot of black women I speak with, whether its online, on the job or in line at the supermarket. And its merely a personal preference I enjoy! I'm in no way suggesting a blueprint for writing AA heroines lol. My best friend lives in NYC, was born and raised in Guyana til age 12. I live in Illinois, born and raised here but have lived in the south and on the west coast, yet she knew EXACTLY what I was taljing about when I mention this topic. For me, that indicates at least some level of commonality that others might identify with. I think we can get so caught up in breaking the stereotypes we go overboard and deny even the small "sista'isms" ( my own word lol) for worry they will further hurt the cause. I dont mind them- its a switch I flip on and off for fun so I enjoy characters who do the same, I guess. Again, not everyone needs or wants this, I'm sure! Just a personal preference I enjoy and figure I'm not alone in enjoying it lol.


Paganalexandria  | 4060 comments My whole life I have been teased with being called Oreo or "white girl" because of my tastes and speaking patterns and sometimes have had to defend my "blackness". That being said, even I possess and embrace some of the typical "sassy black girl" traits people bemoan when they encounter it in a book or on screen. One of the reasons I fell in love with Terry McMillan's writing was her dead on depiction of the classy American black woman. It's that mix of being well spoken, polite, smart, but able to shut nonsense down dramatically if necessary.

@Altagracia, please take heart it's not just your European heritage that makes you a target of that foolishness. It's just being different. I could see if someone was questioning your African American experience which is a completely different thing. It's like expecting Cubans and Mexicans to have the same experience because of shared latin heritages. It's not the same and each culture is quick to set you straight if confused with the other.


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