Writing Op: Books for Black Teens

Publisher’s Weekly has a great article from December 8th about the need for more books geared towards the black teen/YA market.

Publishers have noted that black teens will read if they have something that interests them, and that black teens have money and like to buy stuff.  (Kinda like how they discovered 20 or so years ago that black adults read and will buy books if there’s content they like.)  But there’s some good info in the article that’s worth a look. Some highlights:

Wilson notes that series revolving around high school drama do well, compared to stand-alone titles. She cites the success of Scholastic’s Bluford High and Dafina’s Drama High series as evidence. Dafina began its young adult publishing program with the Drama High series by L. Divine and has since signed the author to a 14-book deal, with plans to publish her until 2011. Dafina is also looking to start a multicultural YA imprint.

Pocket Books … decided to enter the teen inspiration market after noticing that the genre was underserved. The Simon & Schuster imprint reached out to its authors who write inspirational novels for adults—ReShonda Tate Billingsley, Jacquelin Thomas and Victoria Christopher Murray—to invite them to write for a younger audience.

Scholastic and Kimani Tru are also markets for YA books.  Series centered around high school seems to be the most popular, though they all say they’re looking for new diverse voices and a variety of settings, even historical.

If this year you’re a black author looking to diversify your writing portfolio, you may want to think about the black YA market.  And if you have a child in that age range, it probably wouldn’t be a bad idea to try being co-authors.  You can build your relationship with your children and make money at the same time.  Sounds like a win-win to me.

Win a trip to Obamapalooza!

Uh, I mean the inauguration!

All you have to do is answer the question: “What does this inauguration mean to you?” and you could win a trip to the swearing in, the parade, and one of the balls.  Oh, and you also get plane fare and hotel for two nights, for two people.

Come on, writers.  Y’all know y’all want to be there.  Go to:  http://www.pic2009.org/page/s/tickettohistory which will divert to a fundraising page, but donating to underwrite the inauguration isn’t required.

Sharon Cullars Fundraiser

You all know the economy sucks hairy donkey balls.  You all know that for every writer making a living from his or her work, there are dozens if not hundreds who aren’t.  Many are just finanically unable to leave their day jobs.  In black romance that number is probably statistically higher.

Author Sharon Cullars is feeling the pinch of this current climate keenly.  She’s been unable to find a replacement day job for quite soem time now.  As a result, she’s in danger of being foreclosed on.  Now if you know Sharon, you know this isn’t something that she’d willingly share with the public.  Fellow author Rozlyn Hardy Holcomb ound out about it and started a fundraiser.

So if you’ve ever read Again or The Object of Love and enjoyed them, please consider donating at: http://sharoncullars.chipin.com/sharon-cullars

To Burlesque or…

Not to Burlesque?

One of the local burlesque troupes, Syrens of the South, will be offering burlesque lessons beginning January 4th.  I must admit, I’m mighty curious.  I’ve been to a couple of shows, which are a lot of fun.  And learning burlesque just begs to go into a book of some kind.  (Yeah, like I don’t have enough projects on my plate.)

Maybe something for the alter ego to consider, ’cause there’s no way in hell I can put the girls into pasties.

Winter Wonder Write update: 2000 words.  I teh suck.

(listening to: Pandora Radio: Cut by Plumb)

Winter Wonder Write

Like most of publishing, I’m taking a vacation until January.  Well, that’s not really true.  I’m stll heading into the day job (actually worked there today) but I’m putting the blog on vacation.

What I will be doing is something I’m calling Winter Wonder Write.  I worked today so that I could have the Friday after Christmas off, giving me a four-day weekend.  Then I’m burning my last vacation on January 2nd, giving me another four-day weekend.  Both these weekends will be dedicated to writing.

It doesn’t matter that what I’m working on isn’t under contract (actually one of them, a novella, is.)  This is a present to myself, to work on something that I want to work on, something fun, something that stretches me as a writer.  Hopefully, it blossoms into something that can sell.

Sure, the economy is dire.  I don’t know that I’ll be able to sell anything.  But I didn’t know that when I first started out either.  And here’s the thing: publisher’s don’t make money if they ain’t got nothin’ to sell.  That means to me, publishers are still going to buy books, and they’re probably looking for new (to them) authors to bring in.  I figure the time’s good for me to make a move.  To do that, I’ve got to have a story or two ready to go.

I don’t participate in NaNoWriMo because I’m usually working on something contracted with its own deadline and I can’t start something new.  And that sort of pressure and competition just stymies me creatively.  But with the holidays falling the way they are, and my not-quite-a-resolution to be more productive and sell more in 2009, the conditions are ripe for take the step.

So join me, won’t you?  Let’s have a Winter Wonder Write for these two weeks that traditional publishing is closed.  Let’s work on stuff we’ve always wanted to try our hand at, characters that have been calling out, ideas that have ratled around just waitin for an opportunity.  The opportunity is here.

I’ll be back the first Tuesday of 2009 with a teaser from my first erotic futuristic short, Independence Day, featuring in Volume One of the upcoming Coming Together: At Last anthology.

Best Wishes to you and yours for the rest of the year and in the New Year to come!

Blogging @ Naughty and Spice Friday!

Hi all!

Just wanted to let you know that I’ll be guest-blogging at Naughty and Spice tomorrow!  I’m reminsicing and ruminating as well as celebrating my eighth anniversary as a published author by giving away copies of my first book (No Commitment Required) and my latest (Vegas Bites: Three of a Kind) to lucky commenters.  Hope you’ll join me!

Teaser Tuesday: Three of a Kind

Here’s the first chapter of my story, In Walks Trouble, from VEGAS BITES: THREE OF KIND, finallly now available in print!

“Sir, I think we have a situation.”

Marcus looked up from a sheath of papers, eyes narrowing at the beta female standing eyes downcast just inside his office. She was one of the newer security geeks brought onboard after the last shakeup had gotten rid of a fair number of humans and low-ranking Weres. Family members being kidnapped or poisoned with silver dust in their own hotel hadn’t gone over well with the elder Temples, and heads had to roll.

“Anything to do with the preparations for Malcolm’s installation as pack leader?”

“No sir.” The female fidgeted. Marcus remembered that she was a pup, turned against her will after going home with the wrong guy at a party, then let go by the human casino she’d worked for previously after her vaccination had failed. Marcus thought the human world’s loss was the French Quarter’s gain, but she had a lot to learn about being part of a pack.

“What is it, Sheila?” he prompted, making his tone as non-threatening as he could, something that hadn’t been easy lately.

“We had someone attempting to shoplift at the jewelry store.”

“And you’re bringing this to me?” Marcus felt his eyebrows lift. “Should I rethink my decision to hire you, Sheila? Because if you can’t handle a shoplifter–”

“She claims to know you, sir,” Sheila interrupted, looking as if she wanted to be anywhere other than where she was. “Rather intimately, I might add.”

“Does she now?” Marcus left his desk, crossing the wide marble expanse to enter the surveillance room. Several people, humans and non-humans alike, monitored banks of computers and displays that served as the “eye in the sky” for the French Quarter Hotel and Casino, viewing every nook and cranny of the sprawling casino complex. Recently, they’d started adding cameras to the hallways and service routes of the family floors, though not without protest. Marcus ameliorated most of the complaints by making sure that only Weres he’d personally vetted monitored those floors and recordings were put on discs and locked in his personal safe. He’d also upgraded access to the family floors from passkeys to biometric scans, and high-clearance non-Were personnel couldn’t even access the service elevators during Full Moon.

Lately he’d been the lone Were monitoring during Full Moon, but thinking of the reasons why only soured his mood further.

Sheila leaned over one of the human techs. “Cue up room four to monitor one,” she murmured.

Marcus peered at one of the larger monitors as the security specialist keyed in the demand to display the live feed for Interview Room Four, the one reserved for their more unusual offenders.

A woman sat at the faux wood table, flanked by two security guards. Even though her hair was cropped close, and her clothes more suited to a careless teen than an ad executive, her identity was unmistakable.

A growl seeped from his throat, causing everyone in the surveillance room to duck protectively.

Sheila stirred first, tapping the tech on the shoulder. “Run facial recognition program.”

Marcus found his voice. “That’s not necessary.”

As if she’d heard him, the woman lifted her face towards the camera hidden in the ceiling. The high-resolution camera picked up the rich chocolate of her skin, the fathomless black of her eyes. Even the fact that she’d lost weight she couldn’t afford to lose. “Marcus? Marcus, are you there? I really need to talk to you.”

He bunched his hands into fists, fighting the sudden lengthening of his canines. “I’ll handle this one, Sheila.”

Surprise rounded his assistant’s eyes. “Do you know her, sir?”

“I thought I did. Then I married her.”

Barnes and Noble: $9.85 online or $8.86 member price

Amazon: $8.76 (ignore the reviews, which are for the second anthology.)

Books-a-Million: $9.85

Gay Romances Coming to Romance Section

Just saw in a Publisher’s Weekly email that Running Press is entering the historical romance market with gay romances written by straight women.  The first titles will be out in April 2009, and they not only plan to have them shelved in romance, and not erotica, they also plan to do outreach and advertising in Romantic Times magazine and local RWA chapters.

The idea for the line came from Running president Jon Anderson and is based on what he sees as the growing interest in M/M stories reflected in the success of such projects as Brokeback Mountain and the television series Brothers and Sisters….Running v-p and associate publisher Craig Herman said the series will be positioned as a subgenre within romance and while the books will be “erotic, they will not be hardcover explicit,” Noting that the books will be shelved in the romance section rather than the erotica section, Running said the book will be “created to mirror romance novels, not gay erotica.”

2009 should be very interesting indeed.  Gay romances actually being shelved in the romance section.  What will they think of next–black romances in the romance section?

Inventory Reduction

I’m giving away stuff over at Scribes Unleashed tonight. Go over to http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scribesunleashed/ and try to grab some stuff. The grand prize is a doozy!

Invisible Universe: Black in SF/F

Totally stolen from WriteBlack:

Don’t know when or if this documentary will get any sort of wide play, but it would be nice if it did. As someone who wants to break into urban fantasy, I’d like to think that arena is a little more open and open-minded. I mean we know in romance, that the fantasy only extends so far.