Glamour Hair…Not

By now, you may have heard about the fallout from comments made a Glamour staffer during a presentation on dos and dont’s of corporate fashion at the law firm of Cleary Gottlieb. In case you missed them, here are a few of the gems as noted by Vivia Chen The American Lawyer onAugust 27, 2007:

First slide up: an African-American woman sporting an Afro. A real no-no, announced the Glamour editor to the 40 or so lawyers in the room. As for dreadlocks: How truly dreadful! The style maven said it was “shocking” that some people still think it “appropriate” to wear those hairstyles at the office. “No offense,” she sniffed, but those “political” hairstyles really have to go.

Some people may think this is racist, but really the staffer was stupidly clueless more than anything. Really, what’s political about dreadlocks and braids? Maybe she should try living in Atlanta during the summer with black folks’ hair and see how long she lasts! But then, we’re talking Glamour magazine. I haven’t used the magazine as a resource for my fashion, makeup, skin, and hair care in…ever. Besides the general dearth of articles relating to black hair and skin care, there’s nothing for plus size women or women not willing to spend a third of their paycheck on a skirt. Even the recent issue of the magazine that a friend left at my house, the issue with Queen Latifah on the cover with Mariska Hargitay and Claire Danes, had a stunning lack of articles helpful to women like me.

And I sure as hell ain’t giving money to a magazine that spends 200 pages telling me how my hair, clothes, weight, skin, hobbies, and sex life all suck.

But never fear, Glamour is doing damage control. From Angela, a black romance reader, comes this letter from the Editor of Glamour:


I read your post about a Glamour editor’s comments on hairstyles for work, and I’d like to share with you our thoughts. First, we regret the comments were made. The employee, a junior staffer, not a beauty editor, spoke to a small group of lawyers at a private luncheon without her supervisor’s knowledge or approval, and her comment — that Afros are not work appropriate — does not represent Glamour’s point of view.

Secondly, immediately upon learning of it, we sought to rectify the situation. The editor has been dealt with in a very serious manner, and the entire staff has been reminded of the magazine’s policies and procedures for making public appearances.

Glamour is proud of its diverse readership and celebrates the beauty of ALL women. We have responded directly and openly with readers to assure them of this fact. We have also apologized to the law firm, and we extend the same apology to you.

If you know others who were offended by this incident, To ask you to please pass along this letter. So they, too, know how sorry we are.

Cindi Leive
Editor-in-Chief, Glamour

Wanna bet they do a whole series of articles and beauty advice for black women? More than likely it’ll appear in the February issue. You know, during Black History Month.

EDIT: For the sake of clarity and disclosure, I work in a corporate office here in Atlanta. The black women here wear their hair in all manner of ways. I’ve worn my hair straight (which it is now) in braids (which it was during the summer) and sometimes in its naturally curly form. I’m actually thinking about going to Sisterlocks but since that’s an almost forever-choice (and upfront expensive) I’m cautious about it. But I’ve never had anyone tell me I should change my hair, or that I can’t advance by wearing braids. I make a damn good living at my day job, more than I’ve seen from writing, and I appreciate the fact that they care more about my work than my hairstyle.

Comment for the Cure

Alison Kent – Blah Blog

Author Allison Kent is running a contest in conjunction with Phaze’s new anthology Coming Together: For the Cure. Edited by Alessia Brio, the net proceeds of this anthology of erotic fiction will benefit the Susan G. Komen for the Cure Foundation.

In honor of my bestest friend and her recent battle, here’s what I’m going to do. I’m going to buy copies of this anthology and give them away as prizes here. I will buy one copy for every ten comments. So, yes, if there are 100 comments, I’ll buy 10 copies. And I’ll give them away randomly to people who drop in and help raise funds. I will limit the copies to 25 (250 comments/$175) if we go that high, so let’s do it!

Author Jessica Russell is picked up the challenge. She’ll buy a copy of the anthology for every ten comments she receives, up to 100 comments. Go forth and comment!

You can also participate in one of several Breast Cancer 3 Day Walk events around the country.

Sourcebooks to Publish Romance

According to Publisher’s Weekly, the publisher Sourcebooks, known for children’s books, is getting into romance with the launch of its Casablanca line. The line will publish the gamut of romance, including paranormal, time travel, erotic, historical, and contemporary. Editorial manager Deb Werksman is said to be looking for new authors as well as established authors looking for a new direction.

Sourcebooks’s new line launches this fall with three titles: the time travel romance Hundreds of Years to Reform a Rake by Laurie Brown, and two Regency romances, No Regrets by Michèle Ann Young and Cotillion by Georgette Heyer, an English historical romance writer widely credited with creating the Regency genre (she died in 1974). The spring 2008 list includes a contemporary romance featuring a Navy SEAL hero as well as six other titles. The imprint will eventually publish 15 to 20 titles per season, in a mixture of mass market and trade paperback formats.

Is it a good thing?

As I was checking on title availability for my upcoming signing, I noticed something odd.

No one has copies of Through the Fire.

Amazon is out. So are Borders and Books a Million. I just tried to order 10 copies from Barnes and Noble, and they only have 4. If you haven’t got a copy of this Maggie finalist/RT winning book and hoped you’d get it at GRW’s Moonlight and Magnolias conference, I can tell you that may not happen.

Genesis Press had 150 copies in their warehouse as of yesterday. (I know, because I called and asked them). As far as I know, there are no plans to go back to press for another print run. Of course, when I tried to order online, their site couldn’t find me or my books. I also tried to see if Black Expressions or Zooba had their bookclub hardcover edition available. Zilch.

I’m going to call Genesis tomorrow and try to order a few copies to have for M&M and For Sisters Only. At this point, your best bet to get this book would be through used bookstores.

Maybe they’ll turn it into a mass market. I can only hope, right?

I’m not sure if this selling out is a good thing. I think it is, but I’m not sure. When you consider how damn hard it was the find this book in brick and mortar stores, yes, selling out is definitely good. When I start my agent hunt, I’ll be able to say that my most recent contemporary romance not only garnered a couple of awards, it also exhausted its print run. It will look good on paper.

But in the meantime, I don’t have any to sell. A prospective agent may wonder why the publisher didn’t do a second print run. So might a prospective publisher. (I do have a couple of ideas for contemporary stories, you know.)

It is times like this when what an author doesn’t know can be quite painful to contemplate.

Maybe it will be pushed quickly into mass market. Or maybe it’s just done.

Either way, it’s good. Right?

Me vs. Dog

I just found out today that I’m having dueling signings with…Dog the Bounty Hunter.

I shit you not. Dog the Bounty Hunter will also be at the Borders in Stonecrest this coming Saturday at 6PM to sign copies of his autobiography. Actually, I think they plan to have him on the lower level in front of the Dillard’s while I’m in the bookstore.

Should be fun times, eh?

The Real Cover Deal

Okay everyone, here is the final, for real y’all cover of Dream of Shadows:

Dream of Shadows final cover

To view the broadband version of the book commercial (1 MB, opens in Windows Media Player) click here.

Dream of Shadows video commercial

So I was bored and decided to see if I could make a video for Dream of Shadows using my Windows Movie Maker software that came with my laptop. It’s about a minute long and the music is overwrought, but let me know what you think!

To view the broadband version of the book commercial (1 MB, opens in Windows Media Player) click here.

Writing is Like a Symphony

Tonight, I am going to the symphony. The Atlanta Symphony Orchestra will be presenting Holst’s The Planets. They’re including shots from various NASA missions and the Hubble telescope.

They’re also going to do excerpts from Star Wars, including the title theme and the Imperial March, which will be really cool to “feel” in Symphony Hall!

I love the symphony. Back in the day, I played viola in high school, then later in a church orchestra. It always amazed me how so many disparate instruments could be brought together by a composer’s imagination and a conductor’s will. It mimics the writing process in a way.

In writing, you take disparate concepts and words and arrange them into a work, the same way a composer (or arranger) puts notes to sheet music. You know the story setup, the first movement, in which you introduce your setting, giving us a sense of time and place and emotion.

The second movement is the introduction of your characters, who they are, what they want, and what they’re going to do to get it. We are caught up in them, in their action, swept along as the excitement and tension builds layer by layer (instrument by instrument).

The third movement is the black moment. Everything comes to a head in this section. Everything in the piece has been leading up to this moment, and we are hanging on the edge of our seats, rapt. We have run up that literary or musical hill to stand breathless, only to be knocked from our firm footing.

Then comes the four movement. Everything is coming to resolution, and we are presented with an ending that satisfies and delivers.

And through it all has been the conductor who, much like an editor, takes the creative work and directs it into the most impactful piece it can be.

Just a little something to ponder on this Saturday morning. Think about listening to a symphonic piece as your write your words today.

Happy creating!

Who's a Maggie Finalist?

I am!

So there I was, at the seafood counter at my local Publix, getting a chunk of salmon skinned. (I’ve tried to do it before and it wasn’t pretty, much like the gross-out when I attempted to cut up a whole chicken for the first–and last–time.) My cell phone rings.

“Hi, Seressia, it’s Pam Montovani from GRW.” (Georgia Romance Writers.)

“Oh, hi, Pam.” I’m trying to come up with a good reason why I haven’t paid the conference fee yet. Like the $420 I had to spend last Saturday to keep my car from thinking I was stealing it. (I’m not lying.)

“How’s your weekend so far?” She asks.

“Good, good,” I say, wondering if she’s instead going to take e to task for missing last week’s meeting. It was the Black Arts Festival. I think they understood.

“Well, how about I make the weekend a little bit better for you?”

I swear, I had no clue at this point. She wasn’t yelling at me, or chastising me. Maybe she needed me to pinch-hit on a panel for Moonlight and Magnolias, our conference happening September 28-30. “O-kay.”

“You’re a Maggie finalist.”

I blinked. I stared at the lady holding a chunk of salmon out to me. Then I took a deep breath, and when I spoke, my voice climbed several octaves. I think I cracked the lobster tank.

“Are you %^$#! kidding me?” I shriek. “Really?”

She said the magic words again and added “congratulations” to the mix. I think I ran up the wine aisle, and I lost my buggy, and then remembered that I’d ordered a piece of salmon. Pam graciously let me get back to my shopping, no doubt so that she could rest her eardrums before calling the next finalist.

I lost my buggy again and walked past the 2% milk twice while calling my friend Emily Sewell with the news and more shriekage. I called another writer friend out in California, Jackie Hamilton, who “clutched the pearls” in glee for me.

So I’m a Maggie finalist in Long Contemporary for my book, Through the Fire. To quote the GRW website:

The purpose of the Maggie Awards for Published Novelists is to recognize RWA authors from Region 3 who have published outstanding books in the romance genre during 2006. The Maggie Award is a symbol of achievement given by Georgia Romance Writers to bring special attention to these writers, and the Maggie, a silver medallion commissioned by GRW, receives national attention. Books will be scored and ranked by a panel of booksellers from chain and independent bookstores. The names and categories of Maggie recipients and finalists will appear in the Romance Writers Report.

So to say I am delighted to be a finalist is definitely an understatement. The fact that the contest is judged by booksellers is a definite plus to me. I’m so thrilled to be nominated. I don’t know who my fellow finalists are, but when I do, I’ll post here!

Registration is still open for the 25th Annual Moonlight and Magnolias conference, featuring Linda Howard, Rita Herron, Sherrilyn Kenyon, and bunches more. There will be a booksigning on Saturday afternoon 4:00-5:30 PM that’s FREE to the public, as is Linda Howard’s chat just prior to the signing. Hope to see you there!

Promo venues

Over on Blogging in Black, I posted about different promotional venues for writers of color. As I said there:

I’ve just realized belatedly that E. Lynn Harris and Terry McMillian and Tyler Perry didn’t hit best sellerdom by going to RWA or RT. Not that I’m giving either of those up, but I go with the knowledge that, based on my experiences, I’m not going to find a large pool of eligible readers at either event.

But if I can do the out-of-the-box marketing and promoting and be successful at it, then maybe sending out an email blast that I’m at either event WILL draw my readers there.

Perhaps instead of “eligible” readers, I should say, ready-to-purchase-my-books readers there. There are a few, do not get me wrong. But the odds are not in my favor at those events. So I’m spreading m wings, trying a different flight plan. I have no idea if it’ll work, since it requires me to be less reticent than I’m used to when not playing off my friends.

Still go over to BiB and check out my ideas. And if you know of other events that would be good for a writer of paranormal, interracial and African-American romance, let me know.