Today is My #BookRelease Day and I’m STOKED…

swrs-release-day-blog-post…for now.

I have to ride this natural high for as long as possible… before the dreaded depression sets in.

You: Huh? Depression? What are you talking about, Dicey?

Me: It’s true. I work hard to write original stories, to convey my innermost demons in such a way that they can be understood and entertaining. I put in countless hours, writing when most of the world is asleep. Sometimes, I neglect other duties for the sake of focusing on my passion. I immerse myself in my characters and their worlds, and I make sure I’ve edited it well.

So when I’m done writing a story from beginning to end, I’m super excited. Over the fucking moon, excited. I’m on top of the world, because I KNOW I’m a bonafide #badass. You know it too, because you’ll congratulate me. You’ll tell me how much I inspire you. You’ll ask for my assistance in writing your own book and getting it out to the public. And an even smaller number of you, who actually read my books, will buy it immediately. You want to not only support me as an artist, but you want to enjoy my latest work.

Thank you! I love you.

What you don’t know is that a day or so later, after my book is out, my feeling of accomplishment dies. I need to do something else to make up for my feelings of failure. Yes. Within days after achieving something so remarkable, I feel like a failure. Believe me–I know that’s ridiculous, but it’s the truth.

You: Dicey, how is this possible?

Me: Because you don’t see how bad I want it. IT. Success. How badly I want to be recognized for my work. How badly I want to be appreciated. How badly I want to NOT be mediocre. I don’t want to just sell a few books and get a handful of reviews. I want the WORLD to read my filth and have an opinion about it, good or bad. I want my books to be discussed, and for “Dicey Grenor” to be a well-known author name like so many others that don’t have anything more special to contribute to the literary world than I do. I think my work is up to par. What I don’t have is the wide net that others do, and that bothers me. It does.

I swear to god, I am working so hard at staying positive. My husband will tell you all the things I go through that YOU don’t see. Focusing on those of you who share my work and show appreciation is difficult, because I’m OCD enough to see the ones who aren’t and won’t. The ones who have their hands out aaallll the time asking what I can do for them, and won’t bother to support me. I SEE THEM. I see the ones who I’ve supported through the years and how they ignore my achievements, MY requests for support. And I’m trying my damnedest not to. I want to ignore them and see YOU, my supporters. Okay? I’m working on that. If I get it right this time, maybe I can avoid the depression stage. I want that for myself. I deserve it.

You don’t know how bad I want to ignore that some folks in my feed shared Rachel Dolezal’s book in mockery of her being a white woman capitalizing off the black experience, while I, as a black female writer, can’t get them to share a link about my book not even once. They won’t like my FB author page. Won’t like an IG post. Nothing. But they shared her book. They don’t even realize they gave her publicity and perpetuated the very thing they want to extinguish. But it’s okay. I had some pretty supportive friends, who did not share her book, but made sure I had a voice today. While you’re out screaming “fight the power” and doing nothing to help black artists, I’m doing my best to focus on the folks who actually support this marginalized writer. It’s hard, but I’m going to try harder.

With that in mind, here’s some good news: I had 60 people give me permission to tag their FB pages with my book promo today–YAY! That’s progress from the blip in the social mediasphere I’ve made in the past. I reached out to two authors privately that I’ve supported in the past and haven’t chatted with in a while, and one agreed to help. That’s progress. I got some retweets on Twitter and some faves on IG. That’s all progress.

Each of you who showed your support for my T E N T H book release today (SLEEPY WILLOW’S REDEEMED SOUL, The Narcoleptic Vampire Series Vol. 4), my first in two years, have my heartfelt gratitude. I hope you and some of your friends will gSleepyWillow'sBondedSoul.Ebookive my books a chance. I’m going to keep doing what I love. I’m going to keep trying to stay positive about it. I hope you’ll be part of this process, but that’s your choice. I’ll tell you what though–if you’re not, don’t come looking for my help later. Deal?

If you’re new to my books, and want to start at the beginning of my erotic urban fantasy series, I’d be happy to have you as part of my fandom. This is SLEEPY WILLOW’S BONDED SOUL (The Narcoleptic Vampire Series Vol. 1).

If you’re feeling particularly inspired to support me, this is The Narcoleptic Vampire Series box set of the first five books in the series:

Dicey_Box_Set 3D Cover

 

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Where Are The Black Men In Your Book?

I’ve been delaying commentary on this question/criticism for a while, but it’s time I address it. Each time I’ve been asked why there are no black men in Sleepy Willow, the reader has first said he or she LOVED the book but…where are the black men. So, I’m not sure if this is really criticism or just an observation. A somewhat inaccurate one. Nevertheless, I’ll try to answer the question thoroughly.

First–Punch is a black man. Remember him? The HUGE black man in my story? He looks something like bodybuilder Ulisses Williams, Jr. in my head:

Nice, huh?

But, I get it. Punch is not the main love interest for my heroine. That’s really the issue, isn’t it? The romance is between Willow, a black female vampire and Remi, who is…not black. So ladies and gentleman, what we have here is an interracial relationship, right? Willow’s maistre vampire, Maximilian, is…not black. That’s another one. Willow’s boss, Franco, is…not black. Another one. Willow’s nemesis, Agent Monroe, isn’t either. I could keep going down the list, but by now, if you haven’t read it, you’re beginning to understand that this is not an African-American novel. It is a multi-cultural one.

I’m going out on a limb here and guessing those who asked about the absence of black men within the story are wondering why 1) the lead female doesn’t have a black love interest since she’s black, and/or 2) why there aren’t more black men because…I am a black woman author. As in, why would a black woman author not have more black men in her books, like Terry McMillan or Sista Souljah or Zane.

It’s simple, really: it’s already been done a million times or more and I strive hard to make my books unique. I’m leaving the AA fiction to the women listed above and delving into more risque’ material. More controversial stuff. I’m adding several layers of wild and daring, not just one. I’m going beyond an older woman, younger man scenario (McMillan) and drugs and abortion (Souljah) and threesomes (Zane), though I applaud these women for writing books I’ve enjoyed immensely.

Secondly, I did everything I could to make each part of my book a surprise. When you find out Willow’s black–surprise. And when you find out everyone else’s race, religion, love interest, supernatural gift–surprise.

Willow + Punch = predictable. Predictable–> Boring.

I worked hard to keep my book UNPREDICTABLE. (Side note: I’m overjoyed that most of the reviewers respected this and posted non-spoiler reviews. Thanks!)

The Narcoleptic Vampire Series is not the only one featuring an interracial relationship, but you’ll be hard pressed to find more than a handful of paranormal romance/dark urban fantasy stories with a black female lead (first hurdle) who has a non-black romantic interest (nearly nonexistent). And that, my friends, is one of the reasons I wrote it that way.

But that’s not all.

Truth is–in order to answer this question entirely, I’d have to reveal more secrets of my creative writing process. And you know how much I hate doing that. *Being sarcastic, of course.* But seriously, you’d need to know where my ideas come from and how I develop my characters to understand how each one is written the way he or she is.

In this old post, I discussed how Remi’s character was inspired by Nir Lavi. In this old post, I discussed how Joe Manganiello inspired my character Dario. I get inspiration from random input and I run with it. Lots of times, it comes from watching a movie, developing a very short-lived crush on a character or actor, and allowing my imagination to run rampant.

If you’ve been paying attention to my blog, you know Tom Hardy has recently inspired a character or two. For sure. But I have to write my thoughts out now before I lose interest. There will be another flavor of the week really soon. Which means I’ll be inspired to write about different characters with different story lines. I’ll have to chuck the deuce to Tom and welcome my new inspiration.

More so than that, I have a nondiscriminatory policy. I like and dislike men equally. White, black, yellow, green. Doesn’t matter, as long as something stands out about him.

Hey, I just had an idea for a good green character. Wait a minute. I think Laurell K. Hamilton did that in in her Merry Gentry Fae series.

Anyway…

I have to write about whatever I feel most drawn to at the moment. Whatever is churning around in my brain and won’t let me rest until I’ve written about it…him or her–that’s how it works.

I’ve had crushes on Shemar Moore (until I met him in Atlanta while he was filming Diary of a Mad Black Woman. He was gorgeous and nice. I just lost interest after seeing him as a mere mortal), Vin Diesel (not sure he’s black, but he keeps popping up on black men lists), Tyson Beckford (gloriously chocolate), Taye Diggs (wowsie!), Morris Chestnut (I mean, did you SEE him in The Best Man?), Blair Underwood (holy moly), and Will Smith (when he’s not being silly). Just to name a few. But I can no longer write about a character based on them since I don’t feel passionately drawn to them at the moment.

Now you know the method to my madness.

I have a black man at home. A good-looking, athletic one. He’s agreed to pose for an upcoming promotion for Sleepy Willow part 2, by the way…but damn. I’m rambling today. My point is–I have a black man at home so I probably won’t develop a crush on many. Why? You got it–because that’s not different. A Brit with tats, an accent, and THOSE lips…that’s another story altogether. Yeah, I’m talking about Tom again.

Funny thing–other than Idris Elba, Denzel Washington, and Will Smith, you don’t see a lot of black men featured in sexy roles on the big screen much at all. I may have to go on a hunt and find one to base a character on, after all. Any suggestions?

I may have just wasted my time and yours trying to explain this because what you could have been asking was: “Dicey, I just love your book so much and love the characters and I’d like to see more men like Punch in your books because he’s totally hot and I love reading about black men and since you wrote one awesome black male character, I was hoping you’d write more.”

Okay. I’ll do my best. Let’s see how the mood/inspiration strikes me. 🙂