Sunday, September 07, 2014

A Decade of Snark

No one is more shocked than I that I've lasted this long. And to be honest I didn't do this on my own. So I just want to say thank you. To every critique partner, beta reader, writing forum and every author I've met. You have made this an incredible journey I could not have fathomed when I started at 19.

But most of you are here for a giveaway. Here's a purty graphic to see some of the prizes up for grabs and below it will be the rafflecopter link.


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Friday, September 05, 2014

It's A Contest, Baby

I figured 10 years of writing required some kind of celebration. So I wrangled a few people I know and asked them donate to this cause. So what does that mean? A MASSIVE GIVEAWAY. Starting September 7th I'll have a rafflecopter up so you can enter to win. Go ahead and take a gander at some of the authors and prizes.


Melissa Blue




































And after this list...There's still more. So check back. There will be pretty graphics and a Rafflecopter and a giveaway, giveaway, giveaway. *sorry couldn't help myself.*

Friday, June 20, 2014

Debauching The Virgin

My new book is live! It's part of the Den of Sin series.

BLURB:
The first step to recovery is admitting you have a problem.


Amelia Washington is a successful matchmaker to the rich with two failed engagements under her belt.


Amelia hasn’t had a man in her bed since she called a personal moratorium on relationships, and she’s been itching for a mattress tussle. She accepts an offer from The Den's kink orchestrator to pick a sexual companion for a week. Her temporary lover has a quick wit, lust for adventure and pure sexual magnetism. He’s perfect for a short, hot affair that leaves emotions out of the equation. He’s also willing to let her teach him how to please a woman. She’s bossy, high-handed and a bit uptight. How can she refuse?


Dwayne Blackstone is twenty-seven-year-old virgin.


He’s spent most of his adult life isolated, flying search and rescue missions as a bush pilot. When he has a brush with death, he’s determined to finally live his life to the fullest. The first step is definitely to lose his virginity. He wants Amelia to show him the art of seduction. She knows what she wants, and he’s a quick study. It’s not long before the student surpasses the teacher, and the simple but intimate experience turns into more than learning what makes Amelia moan.


The week they agreed to be lovers simply isn’t enough.

BUY LINKS:


Amazon US
Amazon UK
Barnes and Noble
Smashwords
Coupon Code for Smashwords:
Promotional price: $1.50
Coupon Code: HK35E
Expires: June 27, 2014

And if you haven't already picked up Forbidden Rendezvous, you can get it for $0.99. 


Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Words Are Meaningless Until You Give Them Context

I like to be upfront when I start off a post. That way you can decide now if you're staying or going. So, this post is about dialogue. I will try to be short and I hope I leave you with something you can think on.

Anyway...
“I'm tired.”
This is pretty straightforward. Whoever this is would like to go to sleep or take a serious power nap.
She shifted on the bed and could see her boyfriend's face transforming. Within the next five seconds the face she'd fallen in love with, the one that could still make her heart skip would morph into something unrecognizable. The contempt on that face always left greasy knots in her stomach. She sagged into her pillow. “I'm tired.”
The context has changed the meaning of the dialogue. Yeah, she still might want to roll over and just sleep, but it's also to avoid what's going on. You can guess it's also about the state of her relationship with her boyfriend.

Good dialogue can stand on its own but great dialogue is about the context. So don't be afraid to use the context mercilessly.
“Hey.”
“Hello.”
“What's up, sweet cheeks?”
“Oh, hi, ruin-er of all good moods.”
The context is a greeting, but each one of these can tell you a lot about the character. It can tell you how they feel about the person they are talking to.
“Hey,” Tara said to her old friend.
“Hello,” Tara squeaked.
“What's up, sweet cheeks?” Tara bent down and placed kisses on her niece's full, round face.
Amir stepped into her office and all the air in her lungs whooshed out. She didn't care it was irrational for hating the way he made her feel a giggle away from embarrassing herself. She stood from her chair and smiled. “Oh, hi, ruin-er of all good moods.”
Also, just a big general tip:

I really don't prescribe to the advice to write how people talk. It's problematic because:

People are incoherent when they talk. “Oh, um, er, you know the whachamacalit? You know what I'm saying.” (This is usually when you're talking to your friends and you know exactly what a whachamalit is.

Or, so verbose you can't parse the meaning.

Or, they are communicating some information, which is usually has some importance to the people who are talking to each other. But totally mundane to anyone else.

Dialogue is not talking. Dialogue is information you're imparting to a third party who isn't a part of the conversation.

So, make your dialogue interesting, entertaining, insightful and TRUE to your CHARACTER. And read it out loud for the rhythm, not to see if it sounds like “real people talking.”

Why?

“Got a sec?”
“Do you have a moment?”
“Dear sir, I need to impart some important information.”

Everyone would say the last is how no one in real life talks. Until you put that dialogue in the mouth of someone stuffy and who is probably someone's butler.

So...that's all I've got. Yes, a real post. But look out on Friday. There'll be promotion.

Saturday, June 07, 2014

O For Two: A New Season Of Sin Begins

I know some of y'all have been waiting for the second season of The Den of Sin and it's here. Holley Trent is first up with O For Two. Be sure to pick up all the titles the first week they are out to get the sale price of $1.49.

***

Olivia Patterson is a rolling stone…or maybe a flying one. As a flight attendant, she lives in the air. She’s never put down roots, and liked it that way…until now. When she touches down on the ground, she wants there to be someone waiting for her. For now, she’d settle for a bit of no-strings-attached company. She accepts an invitation to the Hotel Beaudelaire’s exclusive Den of Sin expecting to have her kinks indulged, not her heart battered.


Clint Morstad and Ken Brook have been in a committed, monogamous relationship for eleven years and are a mostly perfect match. However, after a decade together both admit their relationship needs a feminine influence. They visit the Den to search for their perfect woman, and believe easy-going Olivia could be their ideal match.


As much as she adores them, Olivia doesn’t want to get attached to men she can’t keep. When she slips away before they can invite her home, Clint and Ken left with a dilemma. Should they give chase to the only woman they’ve wanted to share, or let her fly?



(An mmf erotic romance - contains scenes of m/m intercourse.)

Amazon
Barnes and Noble
All Romance Ebooks
Smashwords
***
The line up:
Illicit Passions by Ambrielle Kirk (June 13th, 2014)
Debauching The Virgin by Mel Blue (June 20th, 2014)
You can read blurbs and excerpts by clicking on the links. In short, just visit The Den of Sin website.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Genre Expectations: I Ramble About IR Romance

As you know, I don't blog often. When I say blog, I mean something other than Go Buy This Book or Giveaway, Giveaway, Giveaway! A big part of that is I started actively blogging in 2005. Damn. Almost a decade. So...I've run out of things to say. So what's inspired this post? Race. Or rather, the idea that colorblindness in IR romance is problematic.

I'm a bit conflicted myself. I don't have the right answer. I'm not a scholar or an academic so don't look for two-dollar words in this blog or a complete unpacking of all the myriad nuances. Quite frankly this just might be a ranty-ish ramble.

But let's start with this:


A quick summary of this review is that the blogger was surprised that even though the characters were aware of race and the complications, the black moment dealt with a run-of-the-mill romantic uncoupling.

Now, it's pretty obvious she's new to the IR romance scene. Because she asks the question, Yet is there no room in the genre for romances that gesture toward, or even confront, the difficulties that interracial couples might face in our purportedly post-racial society?”

Uh. Yeah. I'm pretty sure you can pick up any IR romance written in the 1990s or the early 2000s and find almost every damn book is about the difference of race between the characters. If they had made peace with it, a family member or friend had an issue. Personally, I suffered from reader fatigue with this trope. Yes, I was happy to see heroes and heroines with my skin color in books. But, for the love of God, could they break up over him being a good ol' fashioned man-jerk every once and a while?

And I think that reader fatigue is how IR romance evolved. It's why you can look at the landscape of IR romances now and not see race as the core issue. Let me emphasize that. THE CORE ISSUE. Which is a great thing in my opinion.

And where things start to get complicated. Why? I am more than my skin color. I'm proud to say I've never looked at a picture of myself and gasped, “OMG, I'm African American. Why did no one tell me?” So I think I'm pretty aware of my race.

Then there's this blog post, which is insightful and wonderful and highlights all the nuance I'm not equipped to write:

http://vacuousminx.wordpress.com/2014/03/06/love-color-and-blindness/

When good authors write minority characters, of course they want to highlight their individuality. That’s what makes a powerful fictional person. But race and ethnicity is an inescapable and foundational part of a minority group member’s psyche and lived experience. It isn’t the same lived experience for everyone. Some feel that identity every waking hour, some may go long stretches without thinking about it. But no one has the luxury of never thinking about it.”

Yup. Yup. Yup. I took a journalism course in college. They entrusted students to write articles for the newspaper. Now February rolls around and they wanted to highlight the African American Studies class. They wanted someone to volunteer to do the story.

All eyes turned to me.

Did I forget to mention I was the only chocolate drop in class? By no means was I the only minority, but I was the only African American. These people never treated me any differently, any other time. The newspaper crowd, at least in my college course, were an odd and quirky crowd. I fit right in being odd and quirky. But in that moment, right before I replied sarcastically, everyone else made it clear they knew I was black.

So to say people are truly colorblind is a bit of a misnomer.

The same can be said that race infiltrates every avenue of a minority's life. To me that's saying all my problems are because I'm black.

I'm a woman. I'm a single mother. Last year was the first time I peaked over that poverty line. Race, for me, is not a core issue of my life. So why should I have to write about it being a core issue for my characters, if it doesn't apply?

Back to Sunita:

We treat non-minority people as essentially individual and not representative; they don’t stand in for all majority group people. But minority people are different. They can be treated as conforming to type or challenging type, but type is almost always there.”

This is probably the closest answer to why IR/MC/AA romances have this unspoken expectation from outsiders, and sometimes insiders, to represent a specific race, culture, etc. in a certain way. These characters are not just characters. They are supposed to be representations for all. Caucasians don't have to carry that burden into their fiction. Their fiction can be about how the girl next door falls in love with the bad boy down the street. They can write that fiction without criticism. Or the notion they are doing their subgenre a disservice for not spotlighting an obvious real life issue or circumstance.

The problem is, what is African American culture? And that's a huge problem for those who aren't aware, because there isn't one clear and obvious culture. Just like any other race, you have many. It really is quite easier to shape a character by their upbringing. And then take a moment to consider how race shaped them.

I am vastly different from someone who was raised middle class. Even if we share the same skin color. Then you have to add in the nuance to my life in general. Just let my mother tell you about her trials and tribulations of having to go to Finishing School. Being raised by a Southern mother who wore gloves to church like a proper lady. Having an aunt who believed red nail polish was as racy as a miniskirt. And my own issues, given to me by my mother, of seeing someone wear white stockings with black shoes, or vice versa. My father's side of the family is the true melting pot of 'Merica. If I get started on being raised in church, this blog post will have no end.

And all that still doesn't touch on the relationships I've had. Taking a mental gander at them there have been issues about fidelity, honesty, my role as a “woman” and a lot of other things. My weakness for...never mind. The point is race wasn't an issue. This goes for relationships that were outside my color line. This is my experience. Not everyone's. Same goes for having moments in life where I was completely aware I was black and that was the difference and the problem. Let me emphasize that. MOMENTS.

Truth be told, I'm not a representative for my race. Lawd be a fence if I was. I see color. I'm not blind. But most times what's more important to me is if you're an asshole. That's not saying I don't see a culture's differences from my own. I usually do. I usually ask a million questions for book fodder and the fact I'm nosy. It doesn't rule my life and that is reflected in the books I write.

Yet IR romances are being called to the mat for not dealing with race? So instead of exploring everything that is love and relationships, IR authors should focus on what's historically been done to every minority ever—center on nothing more than the color of their skin.

Hmmm.

Is it something we should continue to talk about? Absolutely. But saying things like race is being swept under the rug makes me twitch. We write romance. That IR designation does not change the fact the book is a romance. Readers don't expect every book to be about women's rights as the core issue. So why put that same restriction on IR romances? It's not being colorblind. It's actually, I don't know, writing a romance where the main issue might be that the hero is just an ol' fashioned man-jerk.

So that's my two cents. I may be wrong. I may need to get schooled. I can live with that. Anyway, the next time you hear from me I'll probably try to sell you something. Enjoy this reprieve while you can.

Friday, April 18, 2014

The 14.5k Likes Giveaway: The Official Heads Up

I'm part of a massive giveaway until April 24th. The amount of authors involved is ridiculous. It's hard NOT to win a prize. So what do you have to do? 

Put a dent in this rafflecopter to win.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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