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Friday, March 18, 2016

Major publisher doesn't believe black love exists

We need diverse romance. But Pocket Books didn't think so last year. 
Here's the details:
During the Spotlight on Pocket at the 2015 RWA Conference, an attendee asked Executive Editor Lauren McKenna, “Are you working at all on diversifying your author list?” When McKenna requested clarification, the attendee observed that it seemed most of Pocket’s authors were white. McKenna then responded:
“Right now, we [Pocket] don’t have an African-American line. Our sister imprint—because we are all Simon & Schuster—we are just two different imprints that we spoke about today within Simon & Schuster.
“Our sister imprint, Atria, has an entire two lines dedicated to African-American titles, and they really do corner that market. We find doing just one in a larger list, it tends to lose its focus and it really doesn't get the attention and time it deserves, so it also requires a different marketing and publicity plan.
“So we leave that, whenever we get something strong like that in, in a multicultural topic or author, we can defer to our sister imprint who really does focus on publicizing those titles, marketing those titles, getting placement in stores.
“So no. I hear you. We also have a Latino line as well, with Atria. So we do do it, just not within Pocket and Gallery.”
Now, let's look at the lines where Pocket said readers could find black romance. Atria.
Atria is a very diverse line. Zane's imprint Strebor Books is published under this line. You can find women's fiction, erotic, urban fiction, urban fantasy and non fiction under Atria. But I'm still looking for romance.

Romance, especially African American and Multicultural Romance, is never given the respect it deserves.
 4 hours ago4 hours ago that's why the Pocket spotlight was distressing for many. Not knocking Atria, but they are litfic and urban fic, not romance
 Why is it that publishers have a problem with black people, hell brown people, or people who don't have blue eyes and blond hair, falling in love? The door has been opened for a few black romance writers. A small number.
And when a major publisher says we don't have the need to publish diverse romance, how are writers of romance novels that reflect America supposed to respond?
Do we white wash our characters, just to get a deal? Do we fight for spots on the publishing calendar of the few publishers who buy our work but fail to market it?

Pocket Books offered an open letter to RWA:
We write to clarify a misunderstanding that has arisen out of the Spotlight on Pocket Books panel at the 2015 RWA Conference. Unfortunately the panel, and subsequent communications between Pocket and RWA leadership, may have left RWA members with an incorrect impression regarding our commitment to publishing diverse authors.
Let us be clear: at Pocket Books we are, and always have been, committed to publishing diverse authors. Our publishing list, which includes both established and rising authors of diverse background, reflects this commitment, and we are proud of our efforts-to-date in this field.  We would like to reassure you that all our editors and staff, to a person, embraces our important role in encouraging diversity in publishing: we understand that our acquisitions and publishing must continue to give voice to multi-cultural authors and satisfy the needs of an increasingly diverse and changing readership.
We regret any confusion that may have arisen out of the panel last summer.  Pocket Books has for decades enjoyed and valued our relationship with the Romance Writers of America, and we fully support RWA’s Code of Ethics and efforts to encourage diversity in publishing in the romance field.  We look forward to more dialogue with RWA on this important issue, and to continuing to publish great books by romance writers of all backgrounds.
Louise Burke (on behalf of the staff of Pocket Books)
 What I'd like to know is, has Pocket Books offered a contract to a POC.

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

Book sale alert: Making It Real by Synithia Williams

My South Carolina sister writer, Synithia Williams, has a treat for readers in the form of Making It Real, which is on sale through March 14th. If you haven't had a chance to check out this romance, let me let Synithia tell you why you should! 

Tell the readers about your book Making it Real?

The easiest way to do that is with the blurb. 
After five years in prison, Kareem Henderson is starting his life over. Though business is good at his barbershop, his goal is to open a high-end gentlemen's salon. But the road back is rough, and he needs connections in the society he once snubbed to make his dream a reality. He just never expected his second chance to come from the sexy female barber he hired last year.
Patrice "Neecie" Baldwin escaped the pressure of being the perfect daughter in one of North Carolina's most prestigious families to live life on her own. When family responsibilities call her home, she fears going back will expose her to the pressures that nearly ruined her. Neecie needs a shield, and tall, handsome, bad boy Kareem seems impenetrable. So she offers him a deal: If he'll pretend to be her fiance, she'll introduce him to all of her well-connected relatives.
But the more time they spend together, the more the irresistible attraction between them builds. They're from such different worlds, but can this fake relationship make the cut and become something very real?

And how long will the special offer on this book last?

The e-book is on sale for .99 between March 7-14 at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, iTunes and Google Play. 

What was your favorite part about writing this book?

My favorite part of writing this book was the flirting back and forth between Kareem and Neecie. They’re both trying to pretend as if they aren’t falling hard for each other. While pretending that they’re in love with each other they actually fall in love. 

Do your characters ever wake you up in the middle of the night?

They don’t wake me up, but they will keep me from falling asleep at night. I usually spend at least twenty to thirty minutes after I lay down thinking about my characters, going over dialogue and wondering why they do the things they do.

How can readers reach out to you? 

Readers can find me online on my website ( where I give updates on my writing and ramble about life and relationships. They can also find me chatting on Twitter (@SynithiaW) or via Facebook (

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Never thought I'd write these words, but leave Kim Kardashian alone. . .

Twitter is all a buzz about Kim K revealing nude selfies. Ok. We've seen this before. But the nasty comments from other women —even a woman I respect, Bette Midler, have me thinking about body shaming and slut shaming.

Bought or not, Kim K has a nice body. She had two children and I guess she wants people to see that she's held up well.
Some people are saying that she's showing young women that their worth is just their bodies. But when did Kim become a role model? Why did we put her on that pedestal?

She's famous for a sex tape. She pretty much owns her sexuality. This isn't anything new, so why blast her?

What do you think she's going to do? Take the insults and change her ways? Nah, that's not going to happen. What do we care what she does anyway? Kim could tweet a picture of fried chicken and the would would turn upside down with: She's being racist. She's promoting cholesterol. Or something along those lines.

I get it, folks don't like her. Me, eh. She's not paying me. But when celebrities attack celebrities, all of them look foolish.
Don't want to see Kim naked, unfollow her.

Leave the chick alone.