Diversity Within Fiction, Are We There Yet? #amwriting #MFRW #diversity

 

When I first started to write it did cross my mind that being a British author, not everyone may connect.  It never bothered me and it still doesn’t  now.  I feel this way as there is a reader out there for every writer, no matter what you write be it dark stuff or light comedy. I’ve come to feel really strongly that writers should not, and can not write to people please. Why? You’ll lose yourself , who you are and what you want to write. I write it how I like it end of.

Over the last twenty four hours I’ve really been thinking about diversity within fiction, this is mainly due to the writing prompt I did on the Ideal  Romance Hero, and  the  guest author post I done with Author Jane Ridson. I was asked ( in the guest post)  how I go about using diverse characters, and what advice I would give to those that shy away from it. To me, diversity is a given, where I’m from in London it’s a melting pot of different cultures  we love diversity this side of the water pretty much, well in London anyway. So it comes natural that I write reflecting what’s around me, and my diverse friends I have. It would be really hard not to.

Last night, I reflected on this point about diversity a little further, when I woke up this morning and read a few  other writer’s POV on the Ideal Romance Hero it occurred to me that my take on Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome  and the ideal romance hero is quite different, which is fine. I don’t mind standing out! One  ( supportive) comment led me to feel that diversity really does need to be embraced, I also had a response to my Beta Reader call from someone who is keen  to be a Beta Reader for me as I’m a different race and gender to them and I’m on  the other side of the world. This is cool really cool. 🙂  But … are we there yet? Do we still have a little work to do with diversity in fiction? There’s a blogger I love his name is Jason Cushman or Opinionated Man to you and I. I’ve said it before he is rather funny, frank, and to the point. He is also rather raw in his take on diversity.  Jason is of Asian descent and embraces it from what I read,  but he does highlight ” the struggle” he’s over in the USA.I thought about Jason, some of his posts I’ve read and his struggles. You should check him out.

I then went to Facebook in search of marketing groups or companies who actually work with writers who feature diverse characters.  I’d like to put my Romance Set in Paradise series in front of some readers who may love and seek a bit of diversity. Also my future work also, as you know I’ll never quit creating diverse characters. Do you know I found none, not one, like not even a choice! I am really surprised. This led me to set up my own group called Black, Asian and Minority Readers and Writers   this is not about segregation it’s more about celebration! Of authors who feature diverse character line ups, and can maybe help support other authors branch into this ( if they want to) without the fear of stereotypes, or stereotyping those they feature,  find readers who want to find  diversity in their fiction, a chance for all writers  regardless of their own race who love, support and read diverse fiction to come together. This includes the gay community also. I have nothing against same sex relationships at all, live and let live is my motto.  I feel like I want to do something from this side of the Atlantic as there are so many in the USA ( FB groups) with this focus on African American writers /fiction, but I see little with a welcome for all minority groups for anyone who would say they are a minority or of some mixed background.  Or am I just not looking hard enough?

So, if you’re an author of an ethnic background, or an author who writes with diversity regardless of your background, or you’d like to try it! Join the group, the link is above. I hope to build a community of support. And readers, marketers and lovers of our diverse work. Because variety is the spice of life.

Tell me, what’s your views on diversity in general?

Kim

 

Poem: Is She You? #amwriting #poem

Maze
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She, who is she? Is she me or you? If not you then she is who? All I know is she always says whatever it is I need to do …. trust me I’ll do. No matter the weather, no matter the stress her attitude is always “can do.”

Times get tough, troubled and unsettled waters maybe ahead, but does that make her see red?  Let me ask you a question, if you could do it all again in life would you? What would you seek to go back and re-do? You have a long list! Wow, my point, you have missed. Each experience is either a lesson, or blessing in disguise. Wrapped up in drama,  or feeling like there’s no light at the end of the tunnel.  But  If you never travelled that road of drama, would you be able to hold your head this high?

Read between the lines you’re much better, you’re like titanium, and much more refined after all that drama you left behind. You’re now one of a kind, so leave those bitter memories behind.

Each day, look in the mirror and figure out what it is you must do, or what you want to do? What’s your next move?

Never be bitter or never be so unkind to yourself, so that you can’t read between the lines.

Gather your strength, keep your goals in mind, never look behind. I promise you with this wind under your wings you’ll fly. Now you must reach for the sky. Some days will be hard, you have the kids, work, school,  dinner to make, cleaning, the list never ends and the worst bit – everyone has their demands of you! You’ll want to scream hold up! What more do you want me to fucking do? Huh?  But remember it’s your strength,

That will see you through. So let me ask you again who is she? Is she me? Is she you? Oh she is you! Then get out there and do what you need to do. Remember Proverbs 31:25 now who is she?? Is she you?… Yeah, that’s what I thought, I knew you had it in you.

High five, keep going and do what you need to do.

 I just felt like writing. Salute to all the mothers, carers, breadwinners, goal makers and hard workers out there!

Kim.

Romance Writer’s Challenge Week #19: My Kinda Guy! The Ideal Hero #MFRW #romance

It’s week nineteen of the Romance Writer’s Blogging Challenge, what a great week.  I’ve  had many book boyfriends over the years, I’ve been a romance lover for well over ten years of my life, that’s a lot of men. As a reader I like my men just how I write ’em, stylish, strong, smelling good and powerful in more ways than with just their wallet *haha*. Make of that last part what you will!

And no, they don’t always have to be the stereotypical Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome. They can be Mr. Tall, Blond and Handsome for all I care…  Christen Grey sure did it for me. For me it’s more about the man he is when I’m reading romance stories. Good looks is a given, but it’s nice when I read the work of another romance author or any author for that matter, and I’m swooning and giggling that high pitched girly giggle I get over their main man –because of who he is.

I’ve had readers feedback that my character I created in A Stranger in France is “Every woman’s dream”  I’ve heard this more than once. This makes me feel GOOD, I created a nice swoon worthy man. Here’s the secret when I created Nicholas I kinda created my own ideal dream man in real life. Nicholas is handsome, check, financially stable, check, but as a man he is hardworking, respectful to women, down to earth and a modern man. He is relevant to today in terms of his dress sense, views etc he’s not dated. With dated views or expectations of women. Blah! I’ll bin those types of men.

I think the ideal romance hero should have all the boxes ticked visually regardless of his race, but that extra emphasis on his personality I think, as a writer helps  us to not re-write the same type of hero. When I wrote both of my detectives, Jerome Samuels for Not Just For Christmas , my main man in One Night in London the short story collaboration with twelve other authors for Code Red: A Serial Novel and the most recent Sebastian Garcia for Havana Heat I maintained  all the basics for my Mr. Tall, Dark and Handsome. But they are very different men to Nicholas D’Coix. Age for one, Jerome is a man of a mature age over ten years older than me, with that sexy “mature man’s” persona about him umm humm. Believe it or not he actually starts off as a complete ass LOL my heroine really dislikes him, due to his arrogance regardless of how visually appealing he is. Sebastian is my hot blooded Spaniard with a good heart, but he has “issues” as a man not related to arrogance. My main man in Code Red: A Serial Novel is your average everyday accountant in his thirties.

So in a nutshell I think in my humble opinion, and  based on my own writing style and how I like my men my ideal romance hero is :

  • Mr. Tall Dark and Handsome/ Mr Tall Blond and Handsome- visually he is a knock out regardless of his race.
  • Dare I say it- GOOD IN BED this is a must. I need to read those pages and be like fwwaaaah wow!  This author did a good job setting the bar.
  • Powerful in some way, it could be due to his profession or something about him. There needs to be something about him that draws the female in big time.
  • Stylish (this is just my personal preference as that’s how I write ’em). I like stylish men.
  • He can be arrogant, or a  bad boy they don’t always have to be angles. But he has to grow as a man in the story, so that we readers swoon toward the end  when the dust settles. Personally as a writer this is my style  and I love it as a reader.
  • Not afraid to fight for his woman, this is the major for me. That’s how I write ’em that’s how I like to read ’em. As arrogant as  they are as a man ( maybe), at the end of the day when all the suspense and heat is built in the story- does he fight? … yes please let’s all swoon over this scene.
  • Not, I repeate not dated in anyway shape or form. I really dislike this. That said I am in my mid thirties, and I guess the men I’d swoon over probably would not be dated in my age bracket. It’s helpful if the men are relevant and current. Same with the females. Regardless of their ages. Unless it’s a historical romance of course, that’s another story, different or more time relevant ways of “courting” are to be expected. In a modern day romance keep it current.

I ‘ll never get bored of creating romance heroes, I can’t wait to see who is the most popular with readers from all  the heroes I create. I plan to keep them all different but the basics in tact. All ages, races, professions there is no discrimination here. Deep down I have a feeling it will always be my very own ideal man, one of Paris’ top three entrepreneurs Mr. Nicholas D’Coix.  He makes me smile. I’d love to look back on this post in say maybe three to five years and see if I still feel the same. Who knows?

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Positive Vibes For All Writers With Day Jobs: Why Your Editor is Your Rock. #motivation #amwriting #friendship #writerslife

I had a quick conversation via text this morning with my editor, it left me so motivated. I’d love  to share the motivational vibes with other writers out there! Randomly she sent me a message to say hi, I love her, she’s an intelligent, hardworking woman. And her accent is so cool! She’s Australian, but I think of Italian descent via her parents.  She was a friend before editor,  (she is still a friend too), I’ve known her for about  five years. This morning she sent me  a few simple words that helped me to stay motivated, while at the “day job” . If  you’re  a working writer with a day job, even if it’s part time like me, I’d like to uplift you too!…. until we become so widely read  we can write full time to pay the bills…..

Text conversation:

Editor: Hi Kim, how are you ? How’s work and writing? Do you still have your French exam next week? xx

Kim: Hey! I’m well, work’s a bore lol, writing is going well I’m 10k words in with story #2 of the  Romance Set in Paradise. Yes, my exam is next week surprised you remembered. How are things your end? x

Editor; work serves a purpose, writing serves you. You must be excited over book one’s release!  I’m good * she then goes off into an update on how she is personally*

I read her message and thought she’s so right stay motivated, stay focused, work is a bore but it’s a means to an end and serves a purpose.… for now 🙂 Writing is what I do and will continue to do!

Working writers near and far I don’t care what genre you write, whether you write short stories, articles, plays, novels or novellas we rock, we work and write. Sometimes all night when we have a 5:00 am wake up!   We get up, get ready and get to work with just a few hours sleep… sometimes none. All I can say is thank God for eye opening make-up artists’ tricks! I can carry a bag of shopping in the bags under my eyes lols.  But I won’t stop and neither should you.

Happy writing, and have a good day “at work.”

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Romance Writer’s Blogging Challenge Week #16: My Biggest Dream? #MFRW

Hmmm ask an author this question and they’ll all say the same thing… New York Times Bestseller, Bestselling Author. These are all the recognition awards and titles we’re after right? Wrong, okay maybe, but not always in this order. 🙂

For me personally living the dream would mean  a  HUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUGE catalogue of novels and novellas in both the romantic suspense and thriller genres. When I think of this dream, the one author that comes to mind is Stephen King. On my last check he has over fifty published novels. And my all time inspiration Jackie Collins the author I salute, as it was her who introduced me to romantic suspense when I was hardly in my mid twenties. I stumbled across  her novel Deadly Embrace , I then read everything by Jackie I could get my hands, on before I became an author. Surprise surprise I sleep and breathe this genre! Creating my own spin on romance and suspense. Jackie had upon her death something like thirty two novels  published I think off memory.  I was so upset when she died, I feel like some part of life is now missing. I’m one of her fans who would wait impatiently for the next hit, I’d check her site regularly to see what’s coming next and curse when I could not see my next hit coming. My other inspiration the great British crime author, Martina Cole has about twenty odd crime novels from memory. A lot of them I have also read.  When Martina publishes a book, a wicked grin comes over my face! I’m excited.  This is the level I’m talking about in terms of books I’d love to write and the kind of buzz I’d love to create in my genre one day as an author. Considering I’m only thirty four if I get a wiggle on and stay focused,  just maybe it could happen! I could knock out plenty of work.

I’m not focused so much on all the awards or labels authors can get, as nice as they are, it’s more about productivity. I’m also not that focused on becoming rich, this is the last thing I’m writing for.  I had an author mention this who will feature in my Meet The Author – I won’t say who it is look out for them on the 25th.  I’d personally like to give up the part time day job, write more full time, pay the bills by doing what I love and feel my talent really is and not worry. That’s the dream. I’d also love an endless supply of M.A.C and Kat Von D make-up, to create a line of clothing, a house with a pool and large garden for my little boy and to live in the sun…. pretty please if God’s listening LOL.

What’s your dream?? What are you doing to make it happen? If you’re an author reading this is it all about the label, money or the volume of work you put out?

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Romance Writer’s Blogging Challenge Week #15: My Love Hate Relationship With Social Media #MFRW

Okay it’s now just after nine London time. I’ve made myself yet another large mug of coffee and  sat down to work on Lover’s Retreat, novella #2 of my series. I’ve been distracted by the fifty two week Romance Writer’s Blogging Challenge. I’ve missed a few weeks, I do have a good excuse I’ve been writing. So here I am catching up with Jazz FM playing nicely in the background. Week fifteen is all about social media hang-ups  we may have as writers… well what can I say, believe it or not I have a rather love hate relationship with social media.  Which is probably not the best thing to say as an author! As it does so much to reach out to readers and showcase our work.

Here’s the deal, before I was a publish author, when I just messed around writing and journaling with no real intention to publish anything  or write novels I NEVER used social media personally. I hated it. My view was (and I say was as I use it for a different purpose now) I don’t need a Facebook account to keep in touch with friends and loved ones. If I know you you’ll be in my phone book  or contacts and I’ll call, text or whatsup message you. I don’t need to email you, or put an update on the internet to tell you what I’m up to, you’ll  know via phone or in person.What the fuck is Facebook all about? What’s the point in that.. huh?  That was me before this whole new direction in life kicked off.

I also thought that social media was the cause of many relationship problems, your other half spending too much time on it, sending messages to random people, keeping in touch with ex- partners that kind of a thing.  Anyone here ever watched Jeremy Kyle the day time talk show… umm you know what I mean now? Why are all the people on that show obsessed with Facebook? Or have some kind of problem that started with ” I saw this on Facebook and so I ….” So I just ignored social media.

My hang up with it (social media)  was as I thought it could be  used to just paint a picture of your life, that may not even be true. You may not be as happy as Larry, enjoying all the updates you post. I thought Facebook was full of smoke and mirrors. As for Twitter… who? I’m a rather talkative person, I could not imagine squeezing all I have to  say into 140 characters LOL.

Now, of course I see the benefit of social media, and it has done wonders for me to grow as an author and continue to grow. My feelings now are that social media can be a positive thing, you can connect with people you’d never have a chance to meet in real life. Take for example my new monthly feature Meet The Author, this has been sooooooooooo popular! I’ve had so many authors contact me for a feature, which I am over the moon about. I would never have  the chance to  connect with them, or read their wonderful work if it were not for social media. That’s because I put out a call for authors over Facebook and Twitter, authors from the other side of the world as well as the UK have connected with me. I can’t wait to share all their interviews with you. Meeting a lot of you out there who are reading this, has all been down to social media. Which is great. I now see that social media does have a place in the world with some kind of use and meaning.

So I guess, my hang-ups on social media have changed  (a bit),as I can now see how it can be used to my personal advantage as a writer.  In my personal life I still think just call me don’t FB me and ask me how I’m doing!  I doubt I’ll ever entertain it for personal use, as an author yes and that’s as far as it will ever go.

Do you have a hang up with social media? Do you love it or hate it?

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Writing Tip: Character Profiles & Their Importance #writerslife #amwriting

I’ve just sat down to do a couple hours work on the next novella story for my Romance Set in Paradise series, I started to think a lot about character development (as I normally do) as I’m creating a scene that’s unfamiliar to me. On top of that my main character is in a situation also unfamiliar to me. In order to do this  scene and story justice, other than research, one thing I have learned while creating unfamiliar or difficult scenes is it’s helpful to react to things as your character would rather than yourself. In order to do this you need a detailed character profile. (In my humble view).

When I wrote A Stranger in France, all 90,000 words were mapped out across chapters and character profiles, it helped A LOT especially as the characters are so far removed from me. I also wrote from a male POV – two very different males! So I had to keep in line with what my character’s traits are rather than me a thirty four year old woman. The benefits of a character profile I can not stress enough to every aspiring or even established writer out there. Here’s my take on this and why I’d say use them, don’t write blindly…. even if Stephen King does it!

  1. You’ll be consistent and save yourself a hell of a lot of headache while editing, you’ll have less red pen marks on your work from your editor saying ” you said x on page 57 now you say y on page 78″ LOL.
  2. Your stories will pop and so will your characters.
  3. You’ll write in an unbiased way, as your characters react to things based on who THEY ARE not  who you are.
  4. Character profiles can help move your story in a new and exciting direction!
  5. You’ll suffer less so called “writer’s block”.

So how do you go about developing a character profile? Here’s how I approach it as a tip generally you could….

  1. First see them as real 3D people. How they look, sound, smell, dress, talk. This helps to enhance your writing. ( I feel) and the reader’s experience.
  2. Interview them. Where do they live, car they drive, hobbies, interests, their general take on life?
  3. What is their overall goal in your story? What do they need to make sure happens to achieve it? What will happen if they don’t achieve their goal? What’s at stake?
  4. Take into consideration your genre and story length. I say this as you don’t want to take up all your words on too much of this if you’re writing a short story- a short story to me is like 30k words, to others this can be as little as 10k…. If you’re crafting a full blown novel over 40k words then by all means really work on your character’s profile and make them pop. With genre, I’m all about the suspense! 🙂 this is where my talent is, so to make the suspense come across character development helps within my genre, as I am SHOWING readers things via the moments of my characters rather than TELLING. Some genres don’t need this much work on characters to create the atmosphere of the genre.

And that’s my reflection on creating difficult scenes, and how to make your characters come across as some what believable! If you’re a writer what approach do you take? Do you even agree that character profiles are useful and important?

I better get back to work on my character profile and try to finish up this scene. In the mean time, drop me a comment writers what’s your view?

 

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