Coming Soon to Amira Press: Mismatched

Tessa Dennison, an early-thirties finance professional, resolves to define love on her own terms after a series of busted blind dates.

Justin Martin, her best friend, has secretly loved Tessa since childhood. However, risking their friendship and their differing ethnic backgrounds holds him back. But it’s now or never when she convinces him to screen Internet bachelors for a love match.

Will Justin continue to let societal forces dictate his happiness or will he opt for full disclosure before Tessa finds a cyber match? Is Justin too firmly planted in the ‘friend zone’ to advance into Tessa’s dating portfolio?

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Power in the Stance

I’ve been in my own world for the past few weeks while I edit my contracted novel and lay the foundation for my next work. In my short 33 years, I have never been known to take the easy road and the focus on igniting my literary career is no exception.

I write Multicultural Interracial Romance.

I’ll say it again….

I write Multicultural Interracial Romance.

I write about a society where people of differing cultures, races, religions and orientations positively interact with one another and in many cases fall in love.

I knew when I joined a couple of mainstream national writers’ groups and their local chapters that while I would be embraced for my passion of writing itself, they may not understand my chosen topic. So for a while I wrote in a vacuum, not sharing my work just calling it chicklit because of my knack for sarcasm and humor. But my work is much broader than a female coming of age story. My work is about families, friends, lovers, and society coming of age. 

I emerged from my self-imposed coccoon to discover, on the first day of Black History month (gotta love the irony), that the possibility that we are evolving to a true melting pot of cultures in the publishing industry is not nearly as evident as first perceived. Yes, we are in the bookstores, but we still fight for shelf space and appropriate categorization.

While the list of African American, Gay/Lesbian, and Multicultural/Interracial romance titles are growing, there are still many agents, publishers and the like, who refuse to acknowledge the growing demand for this literature. Middle class Caucasians are not the only market for literature, and literature based on the white middle class does not speak to everyone. Why is it that we as people of color are expected to read and enjoy literature based on the white experience, while accepting the lie that our experience holds no interest for anyone? The answer isn’t to be prejudice against the white experience, but for everyone to equally value all cultural experiences.  

Well, this post is the result of an uproar regarding the 2007 Best Book of the Year contest posted by Ecataromance. A very active multicultural/interracial group of writers and readers discovered that two of their own published members were among the nominees. They were both writers of interracial romance. Not only were they nominated, but they were in the number one and number two spots for their categories. The group urged it’s members to visit the ecataromance site and place their votes for Aliyah Burke & Shara Azod.

Then suddenly the voting was halted and the poll was replaced with a new poll minus these author’s books.

http://readerslounge.catanetwork.com/?page_id=305 

The only explanation was that some books were miscategorized and the organizer wanted to ensure that all books nominated were correctly categorized. As a result, the new poll was re-posted and the voting deadline was extended. Why hadn’t this due dilligence been exhausted prior to the initial release of the poll? And why did recategorization constitute removing the works of the interracial authors?

After the ever- growing multicultural audience expressed their disgust via blogs and chatrooms and a barrage of questions from publishers of multicultural and interracial romance flooded the ecataromance webmistress’ in-box, the poll was restored and the original deadline upheld.

http://www.ecataromance.com/index.php?page_id=323

In the end, Azod came in first place in all three of her categories and Burke took second place in hers. Now we are left to wonder what the end result would have been had this poll genuinely ended on it’s own natural volition.

Nevertheless, this is a prime lesson for the power of standing firm in what you believe. We may not be fighting lynchings, church burnings, fire hose assaults, and police baton beatings, but we are still striving to maintain every inch of progress those we honor this month have acquired for us.

Are you a dream killer or dream builder?

Some men see things as they are and say, “Why?” I dream of things that never were and say, “Why not?”                                           George Bernard Shaw

Have you ever thought you had the million dollar idea? Once you implemented it, you would change the world and become filthy rich. Then you happened to tell a close friend about the idea, only to be told that it wouldn’t work. The high you felt when you thought about the idea banished. What happened? You met a dream killer.  Your friend consciously or unconsciously sabotaged your idea based on his or her own belief system. Not all people intentionally try to destroy your dream; most will have your best interest at heart. They may be looking at the time, money and effort it takes to make it happen. Good advice is priceless and practical; however, we must remember that our dreams are gifts from the Divine. So before you go tossing a dream out based on someone else’s knowledge and advice, you might want to consider doing this simple but powerful exercise: Sit on it for awhile, and I don’t mean forever; write down the pros and cons; and ask yourself do you have the passion for it. Once you have answered the above questions then share your idea, if you are seeking support for it and not validation. The next time someone shares a dream or idea with you, don’t shoot it down. Praise the idea and suggest that the person do the above exercise. This way you won’t be a dream killer; you will be a dream builder.

 JJMichael is an intuitive numerologist and author of Path to Truth, Life is Never as It Seems, and It’s Not Over Yet. JJ is also the publisher of Path2truth ezine that promotes self-realization and world peace.  Find out more about JJ at www.jjmichael.org 

Don’t Let a Setback or Disappointment Stop You.

Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead.                                                                                                               Les Brown 

I was disappointed last week when Barack Obama didn’t win the New Hampshire primary. It became personal. I spent a lot of time on the phone and net with family, friends and other Obama supporters trying to figure out what went wrong. I was stressed. Meditating is my way to debunk the stress and to get answers from a Higher Source. I wasn’t finding peace from those stimulating conversations. Besides the campaign was just getting started and I needed to get grounded in my truths and not buy into all the combative energy of the campaign. Obama stated that the lost of the primary was more valuable at this time in the campaign, because it taught him that America was not going to hand him the nomination, he had to work for it. And that’s the truth. You have to work for whatever you desire.  As a writer, I have received many rejection letters and critical reviews of my work. I didn’t give up. I realized I had to work for it and not give up based on someone else’s perspective. I did what Les Brown said: Anytime you suffer a setback or disappointment, put your head down and plow ahead. I plowed ahead and I am now a published author.  Setbacks and hurdles are put in our path as lessons. They teach us strength, perseverance, concentration, self-improvement, and humility.  It’s not always about the outcome, but about the effort you put forth. Your job is to give it your best and leave the rest to God. For all those with goals and dreams put your head down and plow ahead.  

JJ Michael is an intuitive numerologist and author of Life is Never as It Seems, It’s Not Over Yet and the Path to Truth. She is also the editor of Path2truth ezine that promotes self-realization and world peace.  

Spiritualdiva Speaks: An Obama Quote

“If we cast aside our fear and cast aside our cynicism and we stand up for what we genuinely believe, this is our moment, this is our time, you can feel it, you can see it,”Barack Obama

Obama speaks to the energy that is setting the tone for how we can achieve oneness as a human race. Isn’t that what we are here for, to learn to love and be in harmony with one another?  With that in mind, let’s look closely at Obama’s statement because he definitely gives us the formula to make oneness a reality. Cast aside fear—negative thoughts and emotions create unhappy experiences. Fear feeds on separateness and disharmony. Release those negative thoughts and emotions and you cast aside fear. Cast aside our cynicism– let go of judgmental thoughts that keep you locked in doubt about your own abilities and distrust of others. Stand up for what we genuinely believe—look inside yourself and see if you really believe in oneness, love, harmony and peace because if you do, then you will genuinely stand up for them without any hesitations.  This is our moment, this is our time—-live in the moment and not the past (it’s gone) or the future (not promised). Put your attention in the NOW. You can feel it, you can see it–there is a dynamic divine energy that is sweeping the universe. It is called living in the heart and you only have to open your heart to receive it.

JJMichael is an intuitive numerologist and author of Path to Truth, Life is Never as It Seems, It’s Not Over Yet and the Path2truth ezine that promotes world peace and self-realization. You can find out more about JJ and her books at www.jjmichael.org or www.myspace.com/jj_michael_author.