Thursday, February 21, 2008

Vote for Me!--SORMAG Awards

Hey everyone! Please vote for me here at the SORMAG Awards. I'm eligible for the following awards:

Best Multicultural Romance Book of the Year (Either Being Plumville or AJ's Serendipity is eligible).

Best Multicultural Romance Author of the Year (Savannah J. Frierson)

Best New Multicultural Romance Author of the Year

Best Multicultural Self-Published Book of the Year (Either Being Plumville or AJ's Serendipity)

Best Multicultural Self-Published Author of the Year

Best Multicultural New Self-Published Author of the Year

I encourage you to vote, but be aware that putting my name in every category will null your vote. I've only included the categories for which I'm eligible, but there are plenty more. Also, think of other multicultural books you've read (including nonficiton) and vote for your favorites then, too. And if you'd like to spread the wealth in some of those categories, feel free, but please vote for me in several ;).

Have a great day!


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Women and AA/IR Romance

So for the past few weeks I've been gorging myself, literally, on African-American romance. I do have a question though--why are the majority of the women in these books possessing high cheekbones and long hair that flows around the shoulders. I've seen plenty of black women in my day, and the majority of them do not have high cheekbones or hair that flows around their shoulders. What's wrong with having "regular" cheekbones and hair that stops at the nape (or shorter, natural). Because admittedly, I'm seeing "weave" with that earlier (Eurocentric) expression, and I don't think that was the intention of these authors.

And why are they all skinny (small waists, full breasts, slender hips)? All of them? I've only read one who wasn't like that--Chamein Canton's Not His Type, but she was also light-skinned and had good hair, too. Not that that's a problem, but where are thick girls who are more dark than light, who have typical African features and hair? It's not that I have a problem reading about all the shades of black women, but when I, essentially, read about the same woman appearance-wise I get a little wary. In fact, I think my slimmest woman that I've written is probably Coralee. Maybe Margot, but she's preggers, so she doesn't count. Jada isn't fat, but she'd never be called slim. Tyler is plus-size, and so is Rosalyn, if a little smaller than Tyler; and Samara is also plus-size. I think the lightest one is Samara as well. Jada has the most Eurocentric hair in terms of texture (although it is curly), then Rosalyn, and then Tyler. Coralee's hair would be nappy if not for the hot comb, and Margot and Samara have nappy, "natural" hair (although I try to make sure all of my female characters have natural hair, but I'm not above introducing a weave or two :-P). I guess my standards of black beauty were pretty diverse and pretty strong, but I know how it is to see black women who look closer to the Eurocentric ideal of beauty than not, and I try to be very conscious of it when I write. Since I primarily write IR, I don't want these black women to have prominent Eurocentric features to be seen as a "reason" why the (usually) white man would be interested in the first place. It bothers me so much when I read that, especially when white authors start writing black women (I haven't read a black heroine from a white author who has two black parents or isn't so light and bright regardless of parentage that I have to flip back at the initial description of where the author says the heroine identifies as black. If anyone has, please point me to it.). There's nothing wrong with a woman being (unambiguously) black and beautiful and attractive to both black and nonblack men. She doesn't need hair all the way down her back or a slender figure or honey/caramel skin (and I have honey/caramel skin). Dark, "natural"-haired, more-African-featured-than-not, curvy/heavy sisters need some love, too, after all. We're sure not going to get it from Hollywood!

ETA: I didn't mention Addy, mainly because I'm not finished with her story, but since her look, I don't believe, shall be changing any time soon, I'll say this--I think she's the tallest of all my heroines; definitely heavyset, but it's better balanced because of her height; has relaxed hair to her shoulders; medium-brown skin (more dark than light, but not dark dark). And Eric loves her to pieces. Boy Eric . . .

ETA2: There is also Working Man by Melanie Schuster that also features a plus-size heroine, and I think she's darker than Canton's heroine, too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The Mansucript Formerly Known as Gym Story

The Beauty Within

Yes? No? Lay it on me!

Monday, February 11, 2008

I'm Having a Mild Sally Field Moment Here . . .

I’ve been nominated for an Emma Award for Debut Author of the Year for Being Plumville. What that means is, there were enough Romance Slam Jam conference attendees who’d heard of my book, read it, and enjoyed it, to nominate me as one of five brand-new authors. What’s even more trippy is that I’m the only self-published author on that entire list, and my name is on the same page as Brenda Jackson and Beverly Jenkins. This is the premier award in Black Romance—think the NAACP Image Awards v. Oscars/Emmys/Golden Globes, but for books—and I really had no idea just HOW much of a big deal it was until I saw my name on that list.. I found out about the nomination on Wednesday, but I’ve been sitting on it and trying to process it . . . I still haven’t quite, actually. I mean, yeah, I nominated myself, but I thought I was the only one, or maybe some of the other people I knew had nominated me, too, and that’s only about 12 people at the most. But . . . heh. I had no idea. You really can knock me over with a feather, I’m so surprised. And humbled, and yes, excited. I could win. If the four judges like my book, I could win. I could beat out all of these Leisure Books and Kimani Romances and Genesis Press and Parker Publishing people—many of whom have rejected me (in fact, an agent for one of the authors in my category rejected Being Plumville. Heh.) and make the thousands of dollars I’ve poured into publishing my book worthwhile. But on the other hand, I fully believe it when people say “It’s an honor to be nominated”, because I genuinely feel that way. I also think I’m the youngest person on that list, too. I have no agent, I have no publishing home, but, yo, I’m on that list. Not too shabby, I don’t think.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Proofreading and Novels

I'm not going to call out the current book I'm reading, nor am I going to call out the publishing house of said book, but suffice to say, whoever proofread/edited this book needs to be on probation. All of the mistakes keep knocking me out of the story, and maybe it's unfair because I proofread for a living, but if someone cannot catch that the surname of a character changes TWICE on THE SAME PAGE . . . there's an issue. And "too" =/= "to", and "generally" =/= "genuinely", etc. I mean, I know my own books might have some mistakes in them--hell, I've seen them--but everyone knows it's hard as hell to proofread/edit your own books because your brain automatically fills in the right word/spelling. But when you HIRE someone else to do it, you at least hope for semi-vigilant scouring of the text to make sure it is as crisp and clean as possible. And don't get me started on how I see more of this in IR/MC fiction than not, regardless if the publisher is e-pub, black pub, or "mainstream" pub (and that, everyone is a completely different post/rant for another time). If the leg up of traditional publishers to self-publishers is that you have more access to more resources, why can't one of these said resources include proofreaders? I've read WAY too many IR/MC books that are riddled with mistakes that you just don't see with the white romances (there, I said it). Now, I can't even begin to think of why, and I'm not even going to go militant with it, but if folks think people who read IR/MC don't want to see the cleanest prose possible, then they are sadly mistaken. We want quality, and I definitely demand it. I try my best to provide it when I write and proofread--proofread to the point I'm sick of my own damn story, but I can't afford another set of eyes to read. That's why I also think it's on the onus of the writer(s) to be as in command of grammar/vocabulary as possible, and don't just rely on F7, because F7 only does so much (remember, to/two/too are all spelled correctly; it doesn't mean they are being used correctly.) And even the "grammar check" only does so much. You HAVE to read over your work. I hated doing it when I had to write my papers in high school and college, and Lord knows if I'd cared enough back then to do it, I would've had higher grades! But this type of writing, the type of writing one day, God willing, will be my livelihood, I damn well do care, and I don't think it's too much for me to ask that publishers and authors care much more about the cleanliness of their product as well.