ECataromance becomes

Very cool change going on over at Ecata! Ecataromance and are merging into one location for all single title romances. The new and spiffy will feature articles on techie topics (like the latest ebook readers) as well as reviews of romance ebooks. I'm really excited about this because I've enjoyed checking the sites for releases and advertisement. I'm going to tune in more for their ebook reader news.

New reviews have already been posted on the new site. They'll also be having weekly guest bloggers and a big contest for authors in the next month.

It's not just for romance readers and authors anymore also! Fans of mystery and suspense books be sure to check the site for some cool new reads!

Click the pic to check out the new and improved website!

Diversity in SF and Romance

There's an interesting discussion going on over at Dear Author about cultural appropriation in the romance genre. On the heels of Racefail 09 which happened over in the SF genre, it's quite refreshing to read another call to action for more diverse characters.

The comments didn't take long to be derailed but some of it got back on track to talk about the issue at hand. Most particularly depressing was author Jade Lee's experience at Harlequin which ended up in having to use the pen name of Kathy Lyons because Jade Lee was "tainted as too Asian".

I've heard of many authors who have had a hard time selling diverse stories and characters to New York. Many mainstream agents and authors say they "can't connect to" or "sell" stories that feature characters of color and it's a shame because that's shutting down not only a demographic but also a new voice.

Science fiction had their own situation earlier this year. For a rundown check out Fan History's thread on the subject with a compilation of many links.

After reading the sad display of ignorance from many of the authors who seem perfectly clueless, I had to yank a lot of titles and authors from my list. It was sad to read such disparaging remarks to people aimed at me as if I was subhuman and just plain stupid. Not only have I removed authors, I've also removed a major sci-fi publishing company from my submission list due to the crazy postings of the editors in charge there.

Science fiction has always been my greatest love along with fantasy because of how open to discussions of diversity and humanity can be acknowledged there. I've been on an X-Men kick for the past few days, even watching the old 90s show, and it was awesome to see again because these discussions need to be out in the open. The speculative genre is ripe for this because SF has always had a history of being able to discuss matters in a context that mirrored our own via an allegory. I'm glad RaceFail 09 happened because the after effects are still being talked about in the open and many authors and readers are forced to look at the situation.

Now it's romance's turn.

I haven't been reading romance as long as some of my romance fan friends but I have enjoyed the genre recently because I've found some great stories there. A romance blog named Dear Author recently had a guest blogger by pen name of "Handy Hunter" wrote an awesome post ab0ut the lack of diversity in romance today. Naturally in these discussions I expect tons of derailment and posters being on the defense to prove that the poster is wrong wrong wrong! but there are a good amount of posts that stay on topic and actually have a discussion about the problematic things brought up. Check out the full post here:

Many of the authors in the posts who have tried to sell diverse stories to NY are not surprising but still disheartening. Mainstream publishing is a big giant lead by corporations and the media who have a certain point of view and believe they are right in that point of view no matter what.

That's why I love the smaller press and e presses. I've had much fortune being able to place my books and stories with some great editors who are open to stories with voices and characters of color that aren't shown in the typical fashion. For instance, I love interracial romance and stories that feature IR couples in suspense, futuristic and other settings and genres. I write about that and I've been fortunate enough to have a diverse readership who enjoy my stories. I try to buy the same to support the authors who are also writing such stories. It does get disheartening when I can't find such stories or authors but the more I dig, the more I find some great recs.

Eirelander Publishing, the new publisher I just signed with recently, is blowing me out of the water. Some of my fellow author friends have books coming out within the sci-fi romance genre with interracial couples, characters of color and such diversity that it makes me want to sing. Plus these are amazing stories! Our editor, Lee, is all about story and world building with strong, complex characters so I know there are going to be some strong stuff coming out.

Already on the list are Annie Nicholas' Red Dawn and Sandra Sookoo's Blink, both sci-fi romances with diverse characters/main characters of color and/or IR couples at the forefront; A Feast of Shadows, my dystopia sci-fi with romantic elements featuring a Native American/Egyptian heroine and a Chinese hero; there's also a paranormal erotic romance by Charisma Knight called Soul Seduction featuring an IR couple. Author Aasiyah Qamar's recent release Light My World takes place on the western coast of Mauritius, a multicultural island with a really rich history. Check out the making of the story:

The good news is that the publishing industry is changing in so many ways that we can't imagine. With the advent and rise of digital publishing, self-publishing and publishing in the new media, many more authors are having their stories told. Just this week two more small presses geared toward speculative fiction popped up. I was so excited because many of the small presses are geared toward romance, erotica or horror. It's great to see more publishers focusing on science fiction and fantasy. The obstacles and walls that keep just a few voices and authors past its gates are shutting down as we speak. It may be a scary time for readers who want some kind of screening system for their work but if Philip Roth is correct about the novel being only for a core niche group (which is a bit scary in itself), there won't be much to worry about.

In my blog hopping I'm finding a lot of wonderful reads based on recommendations alone. Even though romance and science fiction haven't been quite diverse as it could be, the Young Adult genre has been much more open thanks to blogs like Color Online, Reading in Color and YA author Justine Larbalestier's blog where they all chat about books that feature characters of color at the forefront.

Things may seem quite hopeless at times and I can see how young authors who want to write diverse characters or characters of color that reflect themselves may want to give up. But don't. Even if you can't get into NY, there's a ton of smaller presses who are open to taking a risk in releases the stories. The only other obstacles are getting readers who aren't used to or seek out such books because they are comfortable reading about their experiences and culture. Discussions like this help ease those folks on in and open their eyes to other stories in the world. We may have to work extra hard at getting books in those people's hands but at least a dialogue is going on to show that more diversity and representation for people of color are necessary, especially in this day and age with more multicultural families and couples rising.

If you're new to my blog, feel free to hang around a bit. I interview a host of authors with some great books and I currently have a bunch of great books in my reading pile that feature tons of characters from different cultures and backgrounds that I'm happy to post about. I'm also at work on an essay for a current academic romance journal on IR and its reflections on contemporary society.

Cover and Blurb for Voice of Abandon

His music inspired her to live again. His heart inspired her to love again.

After losing her husband to a fatal heart condition, Her Serene Highness Julianna DeWinters falls into a depression. She lives her life on auto pilot, making preparations and setting things in order for her country but not for herself. On one particular evening night out to a classical concert assisted by her in-laws, Julianna hears the most beautiful sound that awakens her to life once again. The violinist’s passion through his music not only livens her will but also her heart as she finds the ability to love. If she allows herself the possibility...

Andrew Graham never settled down and loved again after losing the love of his life. Throwing himself into his music, his passion is in the strings of his violin. Once he stops in Welshire to play for the royal family, a beautiful princess captures his interest and his heart. Soon he finds himself on the edge of a romance that will test his ability to trust and love once again.

Voice of Abandon or, The Princess and the Violinist is a sweet, classical novella that proves life and love can begin after loss. Even when you least expect it.

Coming December 2009

Superhero Cast Do-Overs

This is a post of pure total randomness. I'm not a fan of remakes, redos, reboots and do-overs but if I had a time machine and could go back, I'd send some major mental waves for some superhero casting changes.

Here's who I would love to see in the place of:

Jake Gyllenhaal
as Peter Parker

I'm not a huge Spidey fan (aside from the MTV cel animated run and the ooooold tv cartoon (and yes, I even liked the 'supposedly' bad live action Spiderman, too). An 'close but no cigar' casting miss happened between the first and second movie when Maguire was almost out for health reasons. If I can go back in time, I'd whisper Jake's name to Sam Raimi before he can think "Tobey who?"

Matt Damon as Matt Murdock

A few reports flooded the net about Matt playing Matt but most are old reports before Affleck took over the role. I really wish they would have went with Damon. Not only do I completely heart him just because he's just an awesome actor, he's shown he can do action like a pro with the Bourne movies. I would have loved to have seen him tackle Daredevil with a better director and writer behind the camera.

Leonor Varela as Elektra Natchios

I'm a late bloomer Elektra fan. I got hooked on this awesome kick butt assassin from the recent Marvel Knights "Gregs Run". That is, Greg Horn (one of my fave comic artists) and Greg Rucka. If we look at Horn's Elektra art, Leonor Varela has the anti-heroine's look and, from her Blade II stint, she had the chops to handle the action. Some training here and there and she'd be a sai wielding butt kicker in no time. Jennifer Garner ended up the role and was rather flat but I think since Alias was popular at the time, Marvel thought they could cash in on her name at the time. I would have loved to have seen Leonor given the role with a better writer and director and also a possible spin off based on some of her comic stories which are awesome in their own right. I loved the character arc in A dream would be the Punisher/Elektra one shot I read ages ago.

Imagine the possibilities of their first meeting at Columbia University and then their inevitable showdown.

Or just watch this awesome Elektra fan film instead.

Honorable Mention

Clive Owen as James Bond

Seriously? Who doesn't think Clive could've nailed Bond?? At one time, Owen was offered the role but declined it as he saw it beneath him. Seeing as this was during the time of Brosnan's last few movies, I couldn't blame the guy. But with an awesome new writer and director, Owen would have restarted a really cool, sleek new Bond franchise. I heart You

I'm generally a meh cook. The best things I can make (from what my victims, er family members who have eaten my stuff, have told me) are pork chops, scrambled eggs topped with cheese, cookies, brownies and now pie. When low on ingredients, I've found that a quick google search brings up a ton of quick and easy recipes. has become my go to place. When I didn't have Manwich for Sloppy Joes (and I love me some manwich) a recipe there lead me to use BBQ sauce on ground turkey. With a dash of spike, it was awesome. I've also found an awesome recipe for easy Very Blueberry Pie. is another fave and there I found some an easy homemade maple syrup recipe. Per some of the comments I added butter and YUM. Awesome syrup.

My aunt (maternal side) is the big baker in the family and I'll have to call her for some baking recipes. Either that or make a quick trip just to dive into her yummy dishes. I wish my grandmother (paternal side) was alive because she made some amazing dishes that I still remember from when I was younger. I wish she wrote down her recipes, especially her famous brownies I hear a lot about. I try to catch my mother when she cooks to see what she puts in her food but she's more of a 'creative cooker'. She often takes recipes and adds a little something extra that always turns out so good. I don't know how she does it but it happens. I wish I had that talent but for now I'll be happy making small and easy dishes until I can work my way up to the heavier stuff!

Cover art and Blurb for Within the Shadows of Mortals

Here's the spiffy cover art and blurb for Within the Shadows of Mortals (Book 2 in the Ashen Twilight Series) coming 2010.

The war between immortal and mortal begins

For centuries, a group of Nightwalkers, Lycans and Shifter Elves have lived within the shadows of mortals to ensure their survival…until an old foe reemerged and brought the realm of the Fae into the mortal world.

After the fall of the enemy, a string of events unfolds. Ariya is now an Aziza faerie Queen settling with Jace Archane, a Regent in the House of Blood in the Aziza realm. The houses continue to move West after fighting for their survival against the elemental led by Liam Blakedon, a former guard in the Archane house.

A new beginning is on the horizon until blood is spilled on their lands once again…

Late on the highway leading to California, a massacre breaks out in the darkness of night ending in the death of a Lycan family. Word gets back to Ariya and Jace in the Aziza Fae realm and they return, seeing how much has changed since they took their retreat. Mortals have become aware that Nightwalkers, Lycans and Shifter Elves are alive and well in their city. Worse yet, Rich and his pregnant mate, Joanna, have disappeared on the trip from Arizona to California. As they race to find Rich, before it’s too late, a group of mysterious hunters begin picking off members of the houses, one by one.

Ariya knows that Jace is tired of running and hiding after centuries of living within the shadows of mortals. Now, she must choose a path that will force her to decide whether to help her immortal allies or rule the broken kingdom left behind after her parent's death. Soon, she finds that Jace's presence in the Aziza realm brings an ancient evil to life that only lived in fairytales...until now.

Jace Archane knows the depths humans will go to destroy the immortals. Tired of hiding and living hidden from mortals, he is ready to rise and fight against their hunters. However, as he gives in to his baser Nightwalker instincts, his relationship with Ariya tenses. Jace may end up losing more than his humanity as he gives into revenge against his mortal enemies.

Coming February 2010

For Fae Lovers: Free ebook from Juno Books

Juno Books is giving away a free ebook this month. If you're a fae lover like me you'll want to pick this one up!

This year, download SCARY FAIRIES: FOUR FEARFUL TALES of the FEY. The contents:

"The Child That Went With the Fairies", Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
"The Adventure of Cherry of Zennor", Robert Hunt
"Ethna the Bride", Lady Francesca Speranza Wilde
"Tamlane" and "Tam Lin", John Joseph and Anonymous

Why fairies? We realized that two upcoming releases -- BLOOD KIN by Maria Lima and HALLOWED CIRCLE by Linda Robertson -- featured some fairies that were, well, not "good" by any means.

Download the FREE PDF of SCARY FAIRIES ( now and enjoy!

October Spotlight on Author Elissa Gabrielle

This month we have another wonder trailblazing author at A Writer's Dream. I'm so excited every time I spotlight an author here because I discover such a great variety of books with wonderful fresh voices. Author Elissa Gabrielle is no exception. A prolific author and poet, Elissa's current release is A Whisper to A Scream which is a blend of contemporary romance and suspense with a hint of IR, both of my favorite romance subgenres.

As a Literary Entrepreneur, Elissa is the founder of the greeting card line, Greetings from the Soul: The Elissa Gabrielle Collection, collaborator and creator of The Triumph of My Soul, and publisher of Peace In The Storm Publishing Company, a rising independent publishing company with an array of voices. Peace in The Storm recently was honored as Independent Publisher of the Year at the 2009 African American Literary Awards.

Elissa has also graced the covers of Conversations Magazine, Big Time Publishing Magazine, Disilgold Soul Magazine and has been nominated for the African Americans On the Move Book Club (AAMBC) Publisher of the Year award.

As a graduate of the Connecticut School of Broadcasting, Elissa holds a degree in Communications, a certificate in Business from Tulane University, and is a member of the NAACP, the NABFEME, and the National Association of Black Female Executives in Music and Entertainment which is a professional empowerment, networking and support base for African American women in radio, recorded music, media and related entertainment industry fields. Elissa also serves as the media consultant to First Bethel Baptist Church in Newark, NJ.

Elissa took some time out of her busy schedule and gave some insights into her current release A Whisper to A Scream and her writing process.

Q: Which aspects of the work that you put into the book did you find most difficult?

A. A Whisper to a Scream is the story of Queen Thomas, a successful defense attorney who is very passionate about defending the African American male. She has seen that the justice system has not been so fair and kind to them, so it is her mission to save as many of these men as she possibly can. A speedbump comes along in the form of Dr. Quincy Hughes which makes her question everything she’s believed in and has fought for, for so long. The interracial element of the book was the most difficult part to write effectively. I had to do a lot of research, because I had no direct knowledge or experience with interracial relationships, so in order to make it authentic, I had to really work hard.

Q: Which did you enjoy most?

A. I challenged myself on so many levels with A Whisper to a Scream. Queen Thomas is an African American defense attorney, so I had to research to make sure that the courtroom drama was real. In addition to that, I needed to highlight the domestic violence parts of the book. Poetry is something that is laced throughout the book as well as the recurring theme of “whispers” and “screams” so this was the most technical book I’ve ever written. I enjoyed the challenge of having a book that was so well thought out and well written. That was my goal and I enjoyed reaching that goal.

Q: What sets the book apart from the other things you have written?

A. A Whisper to a Scream has many of the same things that my other books have, including romance, erotica, poetry. What sets this book apart is that it is interracial and some of the subject matter that I tackle in the book are very intense, including race, domestic violence, mental illness and the criminal justice system.

Q: In what way is it similar?

A. You’ll find Elissa Gabrielle’s signature style of writing in A Whisper to a Scream. The chapters alternate so that you can hear the perspective of the main characters. All of this is laced in a sexy, moving and emotionally charged ride. You’ll get that in all of my novels.

Q: What will your next book be about?

A. 1. My next book is Eye of the Beholder which comes in 2010. It is the story of two souls that find one another. They ultimately realize that beauty is skin deep and what truly matters when it comes to affairs of the heart, is what lies within the heart and in the soul. Very emotional tale of love and self-acceptance.

Thanks for stopping by AWD, Elissa!

A Whisper to A Scream will be available November 1st at the Peace in the Storm Publishing store and wherever books are sold!

Check out more of Elissa Gabrielle's books and other works on the web!

Dressing the Blog & Hopping around the blogosphere

Ahh! My blog is naked!

Sorry I haven't updated lately. I've been addicted to the short 140 character tweet-a-thon at Twitter and the mini updates from Facebook that I haven't had time to post a good and healthy blog here.

Don't worry, I shall return.

I'm currently working on a few projects at the same time so I'm a big scatter brained.

If you're jonesing for some Rae bloggy goodness, I'd love to invite you to on over to my Paranormal Romantics posting for this week. Just in case you want to add to that growing TBR pile, I have a few book suggestions you should add to your cart. There's also some goodies from my fellow Paranormal Romantics there!

Also feel free to stop on over to my posting this month at Pop Culture Divas. October is a time for paranormal, horror and dark fantasy goodies so come on down and share some of your fave Oct. happenings this month!

I'll be chipping away at these projects in the mean time but I'll be back with more posts when I can.

Until then...

Happy writing and reading!!