Tag Archives: Smithsonian Black History Month

SBHM Feature: Kayla Perrin

Hi friends! Happy VDay!!! I hope you’re all having a lovely day – as usual. And if you’re a romance reader that loves Valentine’s – I hope you’re doing it up big. If you’re not into it, equal power to you. (More? >.>) I want to apologize for how tardy this post is :\ For some reason scheduling posts isn’t working in the interim, so things I thought would be going live in the early AM … nope. So this is totally my bad. 😐

NOW! To the good stuff! As you see, today we have Kayla Perrin visiting with us, and she’s a new friend to ALBTALBS, so I hope everyone pipes up! Don’t be silent – join the conversation! So without furter ado … Ms. Perrin!

If You Want MeI’ve been telling stories since before I could write, and writing them ever since I could hold a pencil. One of my aunts once told me how she recorded me on a tape recorder telling a story when I was five. Unfortunately, that tape is nowhere to be found, and likely wouldn’t work at this point. It’s too bad, because I would love to hear my voice and what I was thinking at that time. I would love to get in touch with that little girl who, despite not seeing herself represented in books, always wanted to share her stories with the world. Continue reading

SBHM Feature: Bridget Midway

Hey Dollfaces! (Feeling very Nathan Detroit here I guess 😉 heh) We’re trucking along nicely through February (although I’m still feeling like I need a “pause” button on life…) and today we have a new friend to ALBTALBS! Please welcome Bridget Midway to the fold! I want everyone to come play because Ms. Midway is a first timer so we need to make a good showing, yes? 😀

The Importance of the 3 Rs: Reading, (W)riting, and Rewrites

Last CallAs a published author, I’m often asked about my writing process. Am I a plotter or pants-er? Do I do an outline? Do I perform any rituals like praying to an altar of my muse. Before I reveal the details, let me start from the beginning. Continue reading

SBHM Guest: Alyssa Cole

Hi friends! Year two of celebrating the Smithsonian Heritage Months marches on. I really should have done an official type post explaining it and describing it, huh? … Ah well. We all know where intentions go, especially mine. Today beyond the Teaser Tuesday excerpt, we have a post about SBHM from Alyssa Cole.

Eagle's HeartI’m going to be honest up front with you, dear reader: I really didn’t want to write this post. I mean, I did. I think it’s important to talk about Black History Month and to recognize the contributions of African-Americans and other people of color to American society. But every time I sat down to put the words on the screen, I kept getting fidgety and annoyed and struck by the same thought
why do we still have to talk about this? I usually enjoy discussions of African-American history, but sometimes, it begins to feel the same as those weekly articles explaining that romance novels are not stupid, that they’re intelligent, feminist, and just as good as literary fiction. Those irk me because it feels like female authors have to justify writing whatever they want, specifically happy endings. In the same vein, writing this kind of post can be tiring for me. It’s a justification of my humanity, when you boil it down. Having to constantly write essays and blog posts and books that essentially say, “Hey, let me explain to you how are pretty cool and also human beings just like you.” loses its charm after a while. I’m generally a pretty cheerful person, but the fact that there are some people who could actually be enlightened by that obvious statement is depressing. Continue reading

SBHM Teaser Tuesday Exclusive Excerpt: Radio Silence by Alyssa Cole

Hey lovelies! Second Tuesday of the month already! I’m freaking out here! Where’s my pause button? You know how this all works! At ALBTALBS we get a totally exclusive, not posted anywhere else excerpt of a new or upcoming book! So you know we’re doing Smithsonian Heritage Months v2.0 – and today we’ve got Alyssa Cole. Now, Radio Silence was published on February 2nd (2015). So as soon as you read this excerpt you can go get your own copy! 😉 Continue reading

SBHM Feature: Piper Huguley

You!!! Guys!!! Well, first of all, let’s welcome new ALBTALBS friend Piper Huguley to the blog! She’s here to celebrate Black History Month with us … and I have to tell you I love this post!!! I adored Laura Ingalls Wilder as a child, and bought myself a set of her Little House books that is still boxed and wrapped in the original plastic. XD I heard about Pioneer Girl on NPR and now I’m regretting not ordering it. But anyway, Ms. Huguley says it so much better! So let’s get to it!

Pioneer GirlThe hottest book in publishing these days was written by hand on discount tablets in the 1920’s. Pioneer Girl, the unvarnished adult version of Laura Ingalls Wilder’s autobiography, is mostly unavailable for those who want it and didn’t preorder it in the fall. So many people are consumed by her story, there is no date in sight for the backordered people to know when their copy will come. That’s because her fictionalized children’s autobiographies about her Midwest childhood have etched a permanent place in the hearts of her readers, long after they have ceased to be children. Continue reading

SBHM Feature: Rebekah Weatherspoon

Hellooooo dollies! Or whatever. (That’s a thing, right?) Or something similar? >.> Someone help me out here. SO ANYWAY. I’m running out of fabulous greetings! What’s your favorite? While you’re thinking about that … say hello to Rebekah Weatherspoon! Not only is she a first timer at ALBTALBS, she’s also a part of our Smithsonian Black History Month celebration! This is what Rebekah had to say.

My First Year as a Hybrid Author:
A Few Things I Learned/Confirmed About Romance Publishing and Myself Continue reading

Guest Author & A Giveaway: Patricia Sargeant aka Regina Hart Part I

Hi friends! Today we have Patricia Sargeant who also writes as Regina Hart visiting with us! And it’s the first Tuesday of the month, so we’re keeping on with the Guest Author & A Giveaway tradition! I wrote “Part I” at the top because I expect to be updating this with some more information in the near future, so please bear with me. (My mistake for not having all information.) I hope you enjoy the ALBTALBS style interview in the interim! 🙂 Continue reading

Guest Review: A Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Christina C. Jones

D.L. White’s review of A Crazy Little Thing Called Love by Christina C. Jones
Contemporary romance released by Christina C. Jones on September 8, 2014

A Crazy Little Thing Called LoveSimone is a woman on a mission: Stop being boring, and fall in love.
That’s easier said than done with no prospects on the table… or under the table… or near the table. Her luck changes when fellow neighborhood business owner Roman Taylor walks through the door of her flower shop.
Roman is single, successful, and sexy — everything Simone is looking for to embark on a whirlwind summer romance with the potential to spark an everlasting love.

But things are never as “perfect” as they seem, and Simone — and Roman — have to decide if they’re willing to risk their hearts when things get a little messy in their pursuit of a crazy little thing called love.

From time to time I troll social media to see what good books my favorites are talking about. If you’re a book lover, you always have your ear to the ground for what other people like and are reading… what’s new, what’s coming. I even have an addiction to NetGalley and Edelweiss because if a super awesome book is coming out soon, I want it. NOW. Continue reading

SBHM Feature: Eve Vaughn

Playing fast and loose with time again! I must be somehow trying to actuate my desire to be Hermione/have her hourglass by changing things around in ALBTALBS world. Today we have Eve Vaughn as a visitor, and she takes an entirely [in my opinion] different approach to our overarching topic, and I really enjoyed it. I hope you’ll share your thoughts as well! (And give Ms. Vaughn – an ALBTALBS first timer and unaware by how fluidly I treat blog time – a very warm welcome.) 🙂 I’m sorry but XD I also can’t resist adding that Eve’s site is blocked by the network administrator, so maybe you especially want to check it out now. 😉

Reading has always been my passion since as early as I can remember. I used to look forward to RIF Day (Reading is Fundamental) at school because we would get a free book. I was fortunate to have a mom who had passed along her love for reading to me. We’d spend hours in the library browsing through books and trying to decide which ones to take home for the week.

My love for the written word soon manifested into me creating my own stories. I was eight years old when I completed my first work of fiction. It was about an alien who comes to Earth and befriends a little girl and they become best friends. Can you tell I was a huge E.T. fan? There have been a number of things I’ve wanted to be when I grew up. An astronaut, a dancer, a ninja, a doctor and Wonder Woman were among the many professions I dreamed of pursing. When I began writing stories for my own pleasure, I realized, I can be all these things through my characters.

Writing to me was like breathing. I’d spend hours in my room while New Edition and New Kids on the Block alternately played in the background. Writing was my therapy when I happy, sad or just experiencing teenage angst. As I grew older, I realized this was what I wanted to do for a living. Romance was one of my absolute favorite genres but I noticed among the books I read, there weren’t many heroines who looked like me. There were of course books that were geared toward African-American women but in areas I grew up, finding those books were few and far between.

Another conundrum of mine was finding books with the level of spice I preferred. I like sweet romance just fine, but the spicy stuff was what really caught my interest. One day while surfing the internet, I stumbled upon an online publisher that produced nothing but erotic romance. I purchased as many books as I could afford. This was awesome and I couldn’t get enough of them. There were even a few books with women of color. Unfortunately, I could probably count on one hand how many books that actually had some sort of diversity.

I’m the type of reader who reads the back of the cereal box for the sake of having something to read so a good book to me is a good book no matter the race of the characters. However, it is nice to read books that reflect the diversity of the world we live in or at the very least the one I did. Growing up I had friends of all races and backgrounds and I think I’m richer for having met such a variety of people.

By the time I began writing professionally, I had recently gotten married to a great guy who happened to be a different race. Our world is changing and interracial marriage is not the taboo thing it used to be fifty years ago. According to the 2010 census there was a 28% jump from the 2000 census in interracial marriages. That means one in ten marriages in the US are interracial and that’s not counting domestic partnerships.  I wanted to write the types of books that reflected my relationship and many others like mine.

At the beginning of my writing career, most of the published interracial books were frustrating for me to read because the conflict was almost always about race, i.e. can this couple get past their racial differences to have their happy ever after. I use the word frustrating because that wasn’t my life. I didn’t suffer through a lot of racial strife in order to be with the man I loved. I’ve been blessed with a fantastic pair of in-laws and parents who have always been supportive of me. Our biggest issues were him leaving the toilet seat up, or us trying to find a restaurant we could both agree on for date night. We were just like other couples, so why did the interracial books relay so heavily on race as a plot device? Sure there are mixed-race couples who don’t have as easy a time as I had but I was willing to be there were other couples like me and my husband as well.

By no means am I disparaging interracial themed book that do focus heavily on race. There are lots of readers who love them. I myself had liked quite a few of them, but after reading nothing but those types of books, that’s when my frustration set in. As the saying goes, there are different strokes for different folks. That’s why Baskin Robbins has 31 flavors, because we don’t all enjoy the same them.

Just to be clear, I’m talking strictly romance novels. I wanted to read a story where the plot device didn’t revolve around race. Stories like an intergalactic fighter and space pirate falling in love, a vampire finding his mate after hundreds of years, or the community activist taking on the big bad CEO were the types of books I wished for. So I started writing the stories I wanted to read, spicy love stories featuring woman of all races in various situation. From time to time I do touch upon race but it’s never the central theme.

I’ve written professionally for about nine years and in that time I’ve featured women of all races in my books. Most of my heroines are women of color, particularly African-American because I want to show that we are not a monolith as we are unfortunately, portrayed in the media at times. We are mothers, doctors, lawyers, teachers, and soldiers to name a few occupations. We come from all walks of life, from the grimiest corners of the hood to the most posh neighborhoods in the world. We run the gambit from being meek to very bold. Quite to loud. Skinny to voluptuous. But at the end of the day we’re all just women.

Every woman deserves to have her voice heard and story told. And I want to be that author who brings their stories to life. No matter the race, all women have one thing in common: we all want and deserve to be loved.

Today, the interracial genre is a thriving niche market that enjoys one of the most loyal fan bases in the world. I’m living my dream. I wake up every day and get to do what I love best. Write.

 

SBHM: Feature Lisa G. Riley

We’re all going to pretend that it is still February and you are going to like it. So, as you see, Lisa G. Riley is visiting with us, and she has a really interesting post that covers a lot of ground. I think all the different voices and points of view are wonderful.

As a personal update, I am … all over the place. Constant low grade (or more) migraines, feverish on the weekends, so … this is why it’s still February in ALBTALBS land. Please don’t leave me. In fact I hope to fill in more things. That being said, you aren’t here to listen to me babble.

I do want to note that Ms. Riley had included pictures embedded into the word doc that she sent me. That … didn’t work out for a variety of reasons, but when I’m not longer at a government facility I’ll see what I can do about adding them. At least I’ve got links embedded for some, yes? :X

He Makes Me Swoon

Hi, all. I’m Lisa G. Riley, an author of several books in several romance sub-genres. When Limecello offered me the opportunity to do a guest post on her blog for Black History Month, I couldn’t help but jump at the chance.

I write this post the day after the Michael Dunn verdict and a few short hours after watching Jordan Davis’ mom hold back tears on television while at the same time saying she’ll pray for the man who murdered her son. I find that I’m almost numb to the all-encompassing rage that wants to take over, but wish I could be numb to the sorrow, fear and sense of hopelessness I feel on what feels like a cellular level.

Before the verdict, I had just about worked out the fluff (pardon me – fluff with meaning) piece I wanted to write for this post. Post-verdict, however, I nixed the idea, thinking that circumstances were too raw, too serious, just too freaking reprehensible for a fluff (even if it does have meaning) piece.

But I changed my mind. I had to. While I won’t forget about the verdict anytime soon (try never), nor stop fighting that kind of injustice, I’m trying to cope. To do that, I need to reverse the direction of my thoughts, so things like fluff and bits of silliness and whimsy are necessary for me. This piece, “he makes me swoon”, has very little to do with the chosen man’s physical looks, and is about men who by virtue of being excellent at their jobs, and are having an impact with their enthusiasm and passion make me sit up a little straighter, and sometimes, make my heart go pitter patter.

First up is Charles M. Blow.

Mr. Blow is an Op-Ed columnist for the New York Times. I first heard of him when he wrote about the Sandy Hook shootings. He is eloquent and impassioned, and he is making an impact.

This is part of what he said about the verdict in the George Zimmerman case in a piece entitled

The Whole System Failed Trayvon Martin:

“The system failed him when the bullet ripped through his chest, and the man who shot him said he mounted him and stretched his arms out wide, preventing him from even clutching the spot that hurt.

The system failed him in those moments just after he was shot when he was surely aware that he was about to die, but before life’s light fully passed from his body — and no one came to comfort him or try to save him.” ©2013 by Charles M. Blow, New York Times

I now follow Mr. Blow on Facebook, and I try not to miss any of his columns because he’s a man making his mark — a good, indelible one — on the world.

Actor Don Cheadle.

Mr. Cheadle is the thinking woman’s actor. He just brings such range to his roles (have you seen Crash or Talk to Me?). And just look at him in any interview — the man’s intelligence is unmistakable. Plus, dude always, always looks like he just smells so good! But seriously, beyond his acting abilities and what I’m sure is an awesome scent, Mr. Cheadle is a man aware of his power as a celebrity, and he uses that power for good. He co-founded Not on Our Watch Project, an organization that focuses global attention and resources on preventing mass atrocities around the globe. Think Darfur and Rwanda. Check out his book: Not on Our Watch: The Mission to End Genocide in Darfur and Beyond. This man is making a difference, and that is so hot!

Astrophysicist, Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson

He looks kinda goofy, right? Well he can be sometimes. But that’s okay, because with that goofiness comes a fiercely keen and clever mind. He demoted a planet, for God’s sake! Bringing astrophysics to the masses, and making it sexy enough for we science-challenged folk to not only be interested in it, but to also understand it, Dr. Tyson who told us unapologetically why Pluto ain’t a planet is so danged cool, he frequently appears on shows like The Colbert Report and The Daily Show. This man is so bold and so confident in his knowledge of all things astrophysic-ky (I KNOW. It’s not a word. See “science-challenged folk” above) that he told director James Cameron (Titanic, Avatar, etc.) that the star field in one of the scenes in Titanic was inaccurate and needed to be changed. Of course James Cameron changed it.

Dr. Tyson is currently the director of the Hayden Planetarium and he hosted PBS’ Nova ScienceNow for five years. He will next be appearing in Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on National Geographic in March, and was voted one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential persons in the world and was recognized by Discover Magazine for having one of the 50 Best Brains in Science. How cool is he? I adore an intelligent man!

Actor Benedict Cumberbatch

♫One of these things is not like the others…♫* I wasn’t going to add Mr. Cumberbatch because seeing as how it’s Black History Month…but…well… I mean he does actually fit into the criteria of men who make me swoon because they’re so good at what they do. And come on, he’s Sherlock! Shezza forever, baby!

Thank you again, Limecello for allowing me to take up space in your space. It’s much appreciated!

Lisa G.