Monday, July 24, 2006

Not everyone will love you. . .

Writing romance novels has helped me fulfill both my biggest dream and my biggest nightmare. The dream part is wonderful. I love writing stories. I love sharing them with readers. The nightmare part is a bit much. Being ass-out for the world to see and putting my work out there for everyone is hard. I have never felt so vulnerable. Having no control over how your work is perceived is nerve wracking. And then there is the fact that the people who love you work are never the ones who go on Amazon and write reviews. It’s always the person who hated your novel who goes on-line and writes a term paper all about how much they hated it.

My latest novel is truly one of those novels that people will either love or hate. There won’t be any neutral feelings about this one. And I’m glad about that. Part of the reasons why people will either love it or hate it have to do with the fact that it is a character driven novel and the characters don’t always follow the actions that we would like them to. The hero, Carlton Harrington III has some issues. So does the heroine. Their ride to love is a little bumpy. One thing I wanted to explore in the novel is the whole whirlwind courtship. You know, when people meet and fall in love in the space of a month. I wanted to look at what happens after the wedding and happily ever after.

When I read a review that says that If Only You Knew was not a romance novel, I don’t know what to do with that. My first response is who died and made you the queen of romance. The genre itself is wide open and has a variety of subfields in it. So it may not be the romance that you like, but it is a romance. The last time I checked the only hard and fast rule for romance was the happily ever after. Everything else is up for grabs. So we can have sweet romances, romantic suspense, and paranormal romances. We can even have romance novels where the hero or heroine may not be the most likable person in the world, as long as he or she is redeemed at the end. I think my hero does redeem himself, but I will leave it up to readers to decide. It’s just hard for me to take reviews seriously when they say things like ‘this is not romance.’

It’s also hard to take a review seriously is the reader has written all glowing reviews for one author and no other reviews until they write the one negative review for another up and coming author. That’s all I’ll say about that.

All in all, I really knew going in that not everyone is going to love everything I write. But I know that I stayed true to the story that the characters told through me. I know that the characters come off the page and they are vibrant. That’s why they get such strong reactions. I know that I still love to write even though this being vulnerable stuff is for the birds. And I want to thank all the readers who have taken the time to write me and let me know how much they loved If Only You Knew and the readers who went on and wrote both good and bad reviews. Because you see, every time a reader takes the time and energy to write something about my work it lets me know that I sparked something in them. So far they aren’t saying she can’t write. They are saying they hate the hero. And that’s cool. Hate it or love it, I’m published! And that has always been my dream. I guess I’ll have to take the good with the bad.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

2006 “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing at the RWA Conference in Atlanta

Attention romance readers in the Atlanta area! Romance Writers of America is coming to Atlanta at the end of July and some of your favorite authors will be participating in the literacy signing. Come out and meet the authors.

Romance Writers of America is proud to host the “Readers for Life” Literacy Autographing at the 26th Annual RWA Conference in Atlanta, GA on July 26, 2006 from 5:30-8:30 p.m. in the Atlanta Marriott Marquis hotel. Over 500 romance fiction authors will be signing books donated by publishers with the proceeds of the sales going to literacy charities. RWA has raised approximately $450,000 for literacy – help us reach the $500,000 mark! Check out the list below to see if your favorite authors will be there.

Please note: Since this is a literacy fundraiser, please do not bring more than a total of five of your own books for the authors to sign. We want to raise as much money as possible to help fight illiteracy!

Here are some of the African American Romance writers who will be participating in the signing:

Renee Alexis
Janice Angelique
Gwyneth Bolton
Ann Christopher
Dyanne Davis
Dara Girard
Seressia Glass
Shirley Hailstock
Brenda Jackson
J.M. Jeffries
Wayne Jordan
Marcia King-Gamble
Sandra Kitt
Kim Louise
Renee Luke
Michelle Monkou
Kayla Perrin
Candice Poarch
Kim Shaw
Jacquelin Thomas
Phyllis Bourne Williams
Alice Wootson

Hope to see you there!

Happy reading,


Wednesday, July 05, 2006

More Hot Summer Reads

I spent the holiday weekend hanging out with my family and reading. I picked up a copy of the latest installment in L. A. Banks's Vampire Huntress series, The Forsaken. And I also picked up a copy of Ann Christopher's Trouble. I enjoyed both books a lot.

Ann Christopher is a new author with Kensington's Dafina imprint. Her romance novel provided a wonderful and engaging read. The hero is Mike Baldwin and all I can say is wow. He is a serious "do-right" man. The heroine, Dara, didn't have a chance once he set his sights on her and seriously started pursuit. Christopher has a real knack for creating characters that just pull you right in. I was truly captivated by all the characters. The prose pulled me right along on their ride to love.

If you haven't started reading L. A. Banks's Vampire Huntress series then you are missing out on a serious good thing. The latest installement, The Forsaken, had me turning the pages so fast I might have to buy another copy of the book. I couldn't put it down. Banks went through the bible, various myths and contemporary world events to weave together a novel that blows the mind it is so good. I mean she took me there bringing Cain into the picture. Take it from me, start with Minion and read the rest so you can experience this great series.

And if you are still looking for great reads check out Deatri King-Bey's Caught Up. This novel is the perfect mix of intrigue, suspense and romance. It has something in it for everyone. When I read it I got so caught up I couldn't put the book down. Trying to figure out who is lying, who is telling the truth and who can be trusted kept my mind twirling.

So if you are looking for some more hot books to take to the beach or wherever you plan to do your summer reading, pick up one of these books today.

Happy reading,