He he.. I’m saving my guilty pleasure genre until last. Here are six different steamy and erotic authors, waiting to pleasure you… on Kindle Unlimited of course. If you’re not a member some might be just .99p. Please be over eighteen years old, I don’t want no one’s mama coming after me for being a bad influence. Grab your naughty reads, try something new.
I am so proud to join forces with more than thirty five female romance authors of colour around the world, between November 2019 and January 2020 to show case our work to bring some #blackgirlmagic and #browngirlmagic to the world of fiction. Women in general have had it hard historically, and sometimes we still do have to fight hard for our voice to be heard.
In the literary world the female voice of colour is underrepresented in books, as characters, and also as published authors by the big publishing houses. No one can dispute that. It’s a fact when it comes to finding agents and approaching publishers ninety percent of the time women of colour are pitching characters that reflect what we would would like to read more about, for example crafting leads with darker skin, and females reflecting what we see in the mirror, or just our experience as people of colour to people who many find it hard to really understand or even try to understand a different point of view, as they are from a different background and it’s not ‘normal’ to have a lead hero or heroine with skin darker than their own. So therefore the agent and publisher loves to feedback that they ‘can’t connect’ with the characters or stories. There is also a serious case of a lack of agents of colour to open the doors to diversity for us. Therefore what chance do women of colour stand when our work is rejected left, right and centre because 1. the ‘gatekeepers’ don’t reflect us 2. or wish to try and take a ‘risk’ by understanding something different 3. we are seen as just ‘urban/street lit writers’ like we can’t write different mainstream genres with no drug dealers, gangsters and baby momma drama.
Many talented and bestselling female authors of colour have spoken out about the unfairness with getting our voices heard by the bigger publishers. Such as New York Times Bestselling Author Ms. Alyssa Cole. A woman of colour herself who has managed to kick down the door to the big five publishers, as a romance and Sci-Fi author and make a real name for herself as a successful author with characters outside of the norm, and has vocalised her experiences loudly.
Let’s not forget women of colour who are writers don’t just write about characters that reflect us, we can and do include characters from ALL backgrounds if we want. We can cross over. So in order to spread the word, love, diversity, and #blackgirlmagic and #browngirlmagic between November 2019 and January 2020 I am heavily invested in supporting my fellow female romance authors of colour around the world in this group. I urge you to test drive a new author, a female author of colour she could be Black, Hispanic, Latino, of mixed heritage, Indian, Asian Chinese or something else magical with free books up for grabs on the below link. You’ll be transported to StoryOrigin and see a wonderful array of books to grab. What are you waiting for? Take a peek…
Interesting writing prompt for this week’s blog challenge, a really relevant one for me. Just when I thought I couldn’t possibly become a better writer than I already am, (just kiddin’ 🙂 ), I discovered the beauty of a prologue (not kiddin’ about that), and highly recommend using them to writers who have not tried it. (Not kiddin’ about that either).
Seriously, though… prologues?… no. Up until recently, I never used one in any of my works, not in the true sense of one. Then I did in my last novel I finished this month, from the experience I realised it’s a game changer for the story, reader and me as a writer…. yes, it improved all three elements of the latter.
When I published the first book I ever completed, the publisher at the time really encouraged prologues in books, but what I have learned since then is that how they encouraged their use, was not really a prologue in its true form. It was more like a copy and paste of an existing part of the book, to ‘grab the reader’ , I was told at the time. So I went with it, it really made no difference to me, the story I don’t think or even the reader. As they re-read the same thing later in the book. From research, from what I understand and correct me if I’m wrong, a prologue is an introduction or scene setting and not something that appears again later down the line.
In my most recent works Sacrifices a romantic suspense, with a hint of history to it, once it went through a round of editing, my editor pointed out ‘Kim, this really needs something here.’ I walked away like ‘hmm, okay so I need to add a new scene to ‘introduce’ the story.’ This is largely as, if you have seen the film Pulp Fiction, I have
‘stolen’ ‘been inspired’ the talented movie director Quentin Tarantino’s, excellent story telling technique. I start my story twenty-five years ago, but not twenty-five years ago from the present day…from the 1960s! Which makes the opening scene the mid- late 1980s…then tell the story ‘back to front’ if you like, to end up in the present day, while moving through different points and key events from 1960s- 1980s in different countries, and then the present day!
I know I’m nuts, right!? Imagine how much fact checking and challenge it was, to give birth to a story like that. Thankfully, and very proudly it works, it came together finally. So anyway, once I got that feedback I reflected, then decided I do need a prologue in the present day, before we head back and move forward. I really researched into what the general feel is on prologues, and the use of them as I never worked with one, or used one before properly. I’ve simply never needed to. A lot of what I read, stated that ‘you should be able to tell the story without a prologue or a epilogue.’ I reflected, I saw this point of view and understood it, as that’s how felt before, I wrote Sacrifices.
I also read a lot of articles that advised romance writers to ‘stay away from them’! One very popular romance author wrote a very interesting article advocating using one, also stating that in her experience ‘readers loved them’, especially epilogues. Yes…I used an epilogue also, but this was already there due to the nature of the story, and ending.
So in all honesty, I believe that as a writer, experimenting with a prologue has actually made me a bit of a stronger writer. It feel it has also added an extra layer of ‘wow, that’s a cool story, and not a rehash of current romance themes’ to my current work. I also feel that readers will be able to keep up with the pace, and connect with the story, due to the technique I used to write it with the addition of the prologue.
Now, I’m a strong supporter from this experience, and I’ve learned what a true prologue is, not a copy and past to ‘grab someone’. It’s a whole new scene, setting, part of the story or peel of the onion to unwrap, to draw a reader in. It’s also very very helpful when writing from a historical perspective, where you are not always in the present day.
Yeah…I think I’ve convinced myself that I am a prologue lover, as well as a epilogue lover and I would do it all over again, if the story called for it with no hesitation. I’m always one to happily break rules to…so as a romance writer, I won’t ‘stay away’ from them as generally in the genre it’s not something that is used often or supported, so they say. I’ll do what the story is calling me to, and allow myself to become better and write stronger stories by not being bound to rules! So in response to this week’s writing prompt for romance writers ‘ prologues helpful, or hurtful?‘…. Helpful 100%. I recommend you all do too, look at your last or current works, regardless of what you write or your genre. Do you need a prologue, what about an epilogue? It might just help, and change the game.
Now it all feels even more real, to see my latest works in paperback, not just on Amazon in e-book. To feel it physically in my hand makes my heart race! Didi Oviatt and I done it!! Our debut work together in one anthology all 50,000 odd words of it. So proud to have this author’s name on a cover with mine, she’s extremely talented and a friendship has grown. The covers look fantastic, even if I say so myself. Really chuffed with both books. Didi and I will be back at the end of July… which is like next week! With Kim and Didi’s Suspenseful Collection spinning tales for you. I look forward to it.
Yes, thank you Lord family quality time, dinner, bath and bed time are complete. Late evening here in London and now and it’s time to get serious. We’ve just passed the mid-way point of National Novel Writing Month. I’m joining in for the second time. With all that’s happened so far this July, two books released in the space of one week of each other, it’s not surprising that I’ve had little time to work on my third addition to the Romance Set in Paradise series. I’m only 5,000 words into my target of now 20,000. This one’s a super short heartwarming yet steamy story set in Europe this time – Greece. With a more mature female lead.
I’ve been feeling writing stories set in a era that I love the 1950s- 1960s, especially since we used this era a bit over the last few months for The Suspenseful Collection Volume One, I’ve had my head stuck in this time frame. I particularly love the jazz scene I always have. Ya know when all those cool smoke filled jazz bars popped up. This style of music was just starting to kick in in the UK, from research we had our own take on the bebop style of music. I imagine women on stage with elegant dresses singing the blues, with piano and saxophone players in the background. I really like this era.
I’m writing this love story for my characters using flashback, something I have done before in stories to tell a tale, but not to this area.
Anyways, here’s an unedited little snippet of what I’ve got so far. All writers taking part this July, I hope your word count is doing better than mine! We’ve got two weeks to get stuck in… here goes tonight I am working on it as I plan to have a weekend free of writing and have some much needed fun and celebration two books released in one month? I deserve a drink!
Excerpt: Book #3 Romance Set in Paradise – I’m not tellin’ you the title yet! 🙂
1960 Maurice’s Place, Oxford Street Central London
Jane slightly lifts the hem of her elegant black dress as she steps down from the stage. The crowd cheer and clap, begging her for more. She just gave them all she had, while singing a very heartfelt version of Smokey Robinson’s Who is Loving You? As much as she wants to be up there on the stage again, with all eyes on her she must take a breather. Her voice would not last the full week if she keeps singing with such heart, without a rest. Heads turn and smiles come her way as she walks confidently through the crowds. Through the smoke-filled room she heads over to the bar and takes a seat.
“You did great up there, Jane you sounded amazing.”
“Why thanks Jenelle, that means so much coming from you.”
“I mean it, don’t sell yourself short. You should seriously think about coming back with us to New Orleans when we return. We could do with a blue eyed soulful sista.”
Jenelle playfully laughs and places an arm around Jane’s shoulders. A dry martin slides up between them. Jane is still not quite used to the star treatment she receives every time she sings over at Maurice’s Place. She ponders Jenelle’s proposal as she places a thin smoke in its holder. Jenelle fires a match for her to light her smoke. After the first satisfying drag, she leans back in the high backed bar stool and looks around.
Maurice’s place has felt like home to her for almost a year now. At just sixteen years old she left school with decent qualifications, then bummed around for two years deciding what to do with her life. At seventeen years old she scored her first stage role at Maurice’s Place. She works behind the bar three nights a week and spends the other two on stage.
New Orleans would be like a dream come true, she has always loved to sing, but only started to take it seriously over the last year. Maybe New Orleans could give her the big break she wants. The Jazz scene in London is starting to pick up, just a year earlier Ronnie Scott opened up a new Jazz room in Soho, but thoughts of being on stage in the USA leave Jane with a twinkle in her eye.
The lights in the room dip, hushing the crowds relaxing in the comfy sofas and high back chairs, sitting around small round tables. All eyes move to the centre of the room. A group of three men set themselves up on the stage. One lead singer, one saxophone player and one piano player. The smooth vocals of the male lead singer float through the air, Jane is mesmerised by his showmanship and voice. But it’s the saxophone player who piques her interest. She studies him as his skillful fingers move over the his instrument. He’s lost in the music, he pulls Jane in.
“So what do ya say Jane?”
The corner of Jenelle’s lips turn up slowly as she watches her friend under the spell of the musicians on stage. Jane’s eyes are fixed on the saxophone player, her smoke has long reached the end and burnt out. Yet she holds it posed between her fingers as if it’s still smouldering. Jenelle laughs to herself and moves her hand over Jane’s vision, to snap her out of her daze.
“Earth to Jane, earth to Jane anyone home?”
“Gosh, I’m sorry Jenelle, did you say something?”
“Look at you! All caught up in the music… or is it Mr. Sax player?”
Jane moves her eyes away from the stage, and joins in the girly laughing with her girlfriend. Tipping her burnt out smoke in the ashtray, she reaches for another one. Before she answers Jenelle’s question she studies Mr. Sax on stage playing his tune some more, and sips her martini.
“My, he’s handsome don’t ya think Jenelle?”
“More than handsome, he sure can play too.”
“Hmm, I’ve never seen this band before have you?”
“Not here no, they have played over at Ronnie Scott’s a few times. I was over there just last week. They brought the house down at Ronnie’s!”
Jane meets Jenelle’s eyes.
“ Really, they were over at Ronnie’s place. Gosh, I can imagine, they sound great.”
“You never answered my question, what about New Orleans? I’m serious.”
“Yeah, of course?”
“You think I could make it over there? Would I be welcome in your community Jenelle?”
“Jane, don’t worry about skin colour, it’s not about that it’s about the music, the voice, the stage presence. All of which you have honey, don’t let that racial segregation shit get to you.”
“Hmm I guess so, you’re right.”
“Plus, that Martin Luther King, he’s doing all he can to help everyone in the USA move forward.”
“You’re right, let me give it some thought.”
“You do that, I’d love you to come over.”
Both ladies smile at each other and toast their martini glasses.
TO BE CONTINUED! 🙂
Lover’s Retreat is book #2 of the Romance Set in Paradise Series of stand alone modern, steamy, suspenseful and romantic stories. All set in exotic locations around the world.
For thirty seven year old recluse Yasmin O’Neil, life feels like one crisis after another. Her husband left her five years ago, she starts to suspect she’s losing her hearing, and then her mother is diagnosed with cancer. When her mother passes away her fortune changes. Yasmin is fifty thousand pounds richer from her mother’s estate. Yasmin takes her fate into her own hands after years of being a recluse, she rediscovers herself at a spiritual retreat in Sri Lanka south Asia, before she plans to spend the next six months travelling around the world. In Sri Lanka, Yasmin’s path crosses with Michael Thomas, an army soldier on his own path of self discovery. With their luke warm initial encounter the pair don’t hit it off straight away. After some push and pull the two are finally on the same page. Their encounter turns from luke warm to a steamy sizzling hot.
In Lover’s Retreat two very different characters originally on different paths, embrace the need for change and companionship. Set in the back drop of paradise, palm trees and untouched nature of Sri Lanka, these two lonely souls gain more than just self discovery they gain a soul mate.
Release Date: 20th July 2017
On Pre-sale now just .99p / .99$ until the flash sale ends on the 31st July. Click Links Below.
I logged on this morning keen to read all the progress updates from my fellow NaNoWriMo buddies. You’re all looking good! I’ve found my new camp and writing mates. I’m in camp thirty six, anyone there? Do you like your camp? So far I’ve spoke to a writer over in the USA in Kentucky writing fan fiction. Here’s my nanowrimo progress.
Well Saturday night I did make a start on my novella to write this month, but I never actually typed anything. I outlined the story. You guys remember I’m a plotter right? I can’t do this panster writer stuff very well. I’m kind of learning to fly by my knickers when writing, during with my weekly writing challenges, with my writing buddy Didi Oviatt slowly. Very slowly.
On Sunday I did a bit of research. Book #3 of the Romance Set in Paradise series will have a little historical feel to it. Not a lot, but the characters are slightly more mature. Most of my characters are around my age mid thirties. This romance novella will feature a heroine in her fifties. I look forward to writing the POV of a more mature lady. Research is needed as I’m featuring the 1950s jazz scene. Woooo hooo! An era I love, and have referenced in previous stories I’ve wrote. However I’ve never actually taken it there in a full book and really made use of it. This story will move between the present and the past. And the exotic paradise location is … Greece! Somewhere I have been and really liked. I won’t say too much in case I change my mind lost moment. I knocked out five hundred words last night.
Today I have a few hours to write, I plan to write like no one is looking, knock out some serious word count. I’ll be up to my eyebrows in words for a few hours.
Have a great day!