Friday, December 11, 2015

F*R*E*E VIP Reader Goodies and a $25 Gift Card Giveaway

Happy Friday!
The year is winding down and everyone is busy shopping or preparing for the year ahead. I've been giving my VIP Readers a free sneak peek of Playing by the Rules, the Valentine's Day novella I'll be guessed it...on Valentine's Day Weekend.
Playing by the Rules is the prequel novel to the Playing with Bad Boys series I'm launching in 2016. Each Friday through February I’m sharing a new installment with my VIP Readers, before the Valentine’s Day weekend release. Plus, I'm giving away a $25 Gift Card to your choice of Amazon, iTunes or Barnes & Noble as a thank you to one lucky VIP Reader for sharing meaningful feedback on the story. (Enter up to 12 times between now and February.)
To enter simply join my VIP Reader List. Each Friday that week's installment will be delivered to your inbox. You can catch up on past installments in my VIP Readers Lounge. (You'll get access when you join the list.)
About the Book
When Meredith “Merrie” Jane gets roped into attending her cousin Daphne’s naughty Valentine’s Day party for the decidedly unattached, she is shocked to find her ex’s elder brother Hunter in attendance. Stir in a few Valentine’s Day-themed cocktails and a very pushy relative, and they both discover that there is more than just friendship between them.
Hope to see you in the Lounge. Happy Reading!

Monday, December 7, 2015

Holy shit balls!

Hey, Kittens!

Whew! That's it. The "Kickin' It with Adrienne Kama and Bridget Midway" event is over. Wow! What a great time. It was a ton of work to pull off, but so worth it. I would love to do that again sometime...but not just yet. Like I said, it was A LOT of work to put the whole shebang together.

So what did I discover with this event? LOTS of things.

  1. Readers are awesome! The readers that came out to the event did it with eyes and minds wide open. Here I was expecting them to be quiet and shy. Oh, no. They were asking questions left and right, getting involved, loving all the play.
  2. Authors are awesome!  Not only did we receive a ton of great promo and books from authors, but also a ton of authors registered and came to the event as well, authors like Taisha DeMay, A.C. Arthur, Shara Azod, Eve Vaughn and the yet-to-be-published Nikki Hale and Denise Williams Cherry. It's great seeing authors wanting to learn more about a lifestyle to write it accurately. 
  3. People in the Lifestyle are awesome! Preparing for this event, I was like a chicken with my head cut off. I was running around making sure the hotel was okay, that the food was order, and I had the bags and everything ready. Three days before the actual event, one of my BDSM demonstrators contacted me to say she couldn't be a part of the event. She was supposed to open the event, so this threw me for a loop. So I asked her and another demonstrator that if they could, find me a suitable replacement. Oh, they did. The amazing East Bound and his girl, toy, joined and did an amazing kinbaku scene, which opened the event. Also there was Master Stephen and his girl kris iris. And there was Sir Knotz, who did a great rope demonstration, Vanilla Facade, who filled in as his assistant, and, of course, my buddy into. Two years ago when he was at the "Wrapped Up" event, he was there with Mistress Dama de Noche as her slave. Since her passing, it was different for me to see him in a more dominating role even though I knew in his life before Dama, he was a Dom. 
  4. Adrienne Kama is awesome! So I've known Adrienne for over ten years. She and I were at the same crappy publisher together. The reason I had asked her to do this event with me was because at the time, she was the only author of color that I knew doing interracial BDSM. I contacted her a year ago and asked if she wanted to be a part of this event and release her third book in the Stella Rice series. She happily agreed. She is a wonderful, calming spirit and a great partner in this event. 
  5. The demand is high. As soon as I said, "Thank you! Good night!" readers and the people in the Lifestyle came up to me and said, "You need to do this again, and we'll come back." Here I thought I had totally screwed up the day. I wanted to do so much more that I couldn't. But, it's good to see that if I were to do it again -- and trust me, that's a big if -- that there would still be an audience. 
What made me proud was to release the third book in my Love series. Is This Love? is now released in ebook and print through Phaze Books. Considering I never thought I would write a sequel to Love My Way, I'm thrilled that I could come up with a 3rd book that will -- hopefully -- interest readers.

So now that all of that is done, I'm taking a bit of me time for the next couple of months. I'll do some plotting, but overall, I'm taking it easy until the new year. Then watch out. So much more is coming including book 2 in the Mama's Boys series under my real name, Crystal B. Bright. The second book is called Forget Me Not. It'll be out in ebook and print in February 2016 through Lyrical Press. This brother is an NFL quarterback with a green thumb. I can't wait for this one to come out.

Okay, time to relax. Hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Stay sexy,

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Real Love. . .Why I write

This past weekend, I was a part of my sister's vow renewal ceremony. She and my brother in law have been married for 25 years.

She was 19 when she said I do for the first time. And you know people say when folks get married that young they are bound to divorce. Thank goodness my sister is not a statistic.

What she is —is my relationship role model.

I'm not going to put all of her business out there, because she would kill me. But I've watched this couple go through ups and downs, raise two beautiful kids, beat the odds and still love each other.

Sounds like a romance novel, huh?

Watching her and my brother in law recommit to one another was beautiful and it got me thinking about the romance genre haters.

Oh, these books are so unrealistic, they say. Or call them bodice rippers, which is a term I hate more than pork. Then you see a real life love story play out in front of you.

After the ceremony was over, my niece said something that made my heart quake. When she was in high school, she was one of a few kids who lived with her mom and dad. A sobering fact.

Now, I tell people all the time that my sister introduced me to African American romance novels. I'm not saying that because she's an avid romance reader is why she is happily married, but seems like this is a life imitating art situation.

Marinate on that, haters.

Congratulations to my sister and her husband for 25 years of marriage.

Friday, November 13, 2015

Farrah Rochon is Coming to Raleigh to Talk About Diversity in Romance

Hi All,

Just peeking my head out of a crazy week of revisions and client work for this public announcement: author Farrah Rochon will be presenting a talk on "Diversity in Romance, and Why It Matters."

If you're fan of Farrah's (and seriously, who isn't?) and a writer, or aspiring writer, you'll want to join the Heart of Carolina Romance Writers for this presentation tomorrow in Raleigh at Glen Eden Pilot Park.

Visitors may attend up to two chapter meetings without joining. So we'd love to see you there at 1PM on Saturday, November 14th. Farrah will also be joining us for coffee at Cafe Carolina in Cameron Village following the meeting at approximately 3:30PM.

Haven't read Farrah's work yet? No worries. She's offering the first two books in her Moments in Maplesville novella series for FREE!

Just go here.

Monday, November 2, 2015

Contributing to the delinquency of book sales

Hi, kittens!

Just four days until the "Kickin' It with Adrienne Kama and Bridget Midway" event in Williamsburg. I have the printed books in hand. The swag bags are nearly packed. Adrienne is ready. My demonstrators are ready. I know readers are ready. I see the posts on Facebook. I've even checked out the hotel layout so I'll know how to have the room set up. I cannot wait to have the registrants see the demonstrators in action. I also can't wait until they have my book, Is This Love?, in their hot, little hands.

While my mind is on the event, I've been thinking about something else, something more crucial. Book sales. At a recent event, Yvette Hines had asked me if I noticed a difference in my royalty payments lately. I hadn't really. When I scanned my royalties spreadsheet, I did notice a trend, a downward trend.

As an author, I could chalk the dip in sales to a myriad of things. I didn't promote enough. I'm not writing what readers are interested in now. I'm not publishing enough. Notice how I keep the focus on me and not the readers or my publishers or even global warming. It's because there's no one to blame but me and my actions. I can't really complain about a problem that I, myself, have contributed to in the past.

Readers have been enjoying the wave of low-cost box sets that have been so prevalent within the last few years. They're able to get nine, ten, twelve, and I think I even saw one with fifteen stories, sometimes even full-length novels, for only $0.99! Why should readers pay full price for a novel when they can get several for a tenth of the cost? Even I participated in a box set a year ago.

For authors, it's a way to get to that best-seller status. For readers, it's a great way to learn about authors they may have never heard of or read before, and a way to get cheap fiction. It's the Wal-Mart of romance. No, better yet. It's the Costco or Sam's Club of romance. Big box superstore versus a specialty store.

Authors can't compete with the bargain, but we've become so shortsighted about the immediate result that we haven't considered the big picture. Or maybe we have, but we thought we would get a different outcome. Maybe authors, like myself, thought that if we got involved in a box set and new readers discovered us on top of making a best-seller list, that those new readers would buy our backlist titles. The only thing we managed to do is make readers even more ravenous for similarly packaged works.

So what am I to do? Keep doing box sets? No. For one, it's not as lucrative as one may think. Yes, there's a great chance to garner enough sales to make it to a best-seller list like New York Times or USA Today. Ultimately, you end up feeling like you've sold yourself short. Secondly, it can stifle creativity. It did for me. I discovered very quickly that I'm the kid who plays in the sandbox alone. That's okay. Self-awareness is a great thing.

Recently I saw a video on Facebook of Lady Gaga talking about how she almost quit the music business because she was forced to do things within it that she didn't like. I love Lady Gaga and I think she's a very talented woman, but I posted all the things she'd done wrong up to that point in her career that she said she hated. As I typed the words and reread them, I realized I was talking to myself.

In order for me to be a happy, productive writer, I have to love what I write. I want to give readers great fiction. Not rushed fiction. Not stereotypical fiction. Definitely not predictable fiction. I'm going to stand by my idea that if I continue to write strong romances with great plots and engaging characters that the readers will come.

So, in order to support that claim, I need to cut this post and get to writing.

Stay sexy,


Friday, October 9, 2015

Playing by the Rules Cover Reveal

Peeking my head out of my writing cave momentarily to give you a sneak peek of what's going on behind the scenes here in the bat cave.

Last month I told you about the surprise goody I've been working on. My prequel novella to the Playing with Bad Boys series will debut to my VIP Readers as a free serial novella before the complete work goes on sale Valentine's Day Weekend.

Last Friday I gave my VIP Readers the first peek at the cover for the novella. But I just couldn't resist giving Hot M.A.M.A. readers an early preview, too.

Playing by the Rules is the lead into my interracial romance, Playing It Safe, which will be released on March 1, 2016.

In Playing by the Rules we meet Meredith "Merrie" Jane and Hunter DeSeau.
Merrie Jane walked away from her longtime relationship with her ex because she was tired of playing games. She wants to be with a man who loves her madly and deeply. Enough to settle down and start a family. When she crosses paths with her ex's brother at a party a few months later, the last thing she expects is to discover that he's been harboring feelings for her and that she has feelings for him, too.
Hunter DeSeau adored Merrie long before his competitive younger brother asked her out. Unable to dismiss his feelings for her, he spent the past year distancing himself from them both. But now that their relationship is over and done, he's faced with the hardest decision of his life. Break the rules and pursue the woman he wants more than anything in the world or keep putting everyone else's happiness ahead of his own. 
Merrie has spent her entire life playing by other people's rules. As she examines her feelings for Hunter, she realizes a startling truth. She's been with the wrong brother all along. But choosing Hunter means exposing herself to gossip, rumors and hard feelings. In a society where perception is everything, is their love worth the risk?
Part I of the serial releases on Friday, November 6th. Get your pass to my VIP Reader Lounge today so it'll land in your inbox along with a chance to win my fourth quarter VIP Reader giveaway.

Happy reading!

Monday, October 5, 2015

I'm so excited!

Hi, Kittens,

I'm a month away from Adrienne Kama and my "Kickin' It" event, happening the weekend of November 6th and 7th in Williamsburg, Virginia. I cannot wait! If I could publish a million smiley faces in this post to show that, I would. So why am I so excited? Hmmm, let me count the ways.

First of all, I get to hang out with readers and authors for a couple of days. Not bad for the girl who never sat at the cool-kids' table. Next, I get to hang out with my BDSM lifestyle buddy, into. Since his mistress passed away, I haven't had an opportunity to see him. Seeing him again would be wonderful. Thirdly (is that a word?), I'll get to finally meet Adrienne Kama face-to-face. We've known each other for years online. But this event will allow me to put a face to the name.

What really makes me nervous is the release of the third book in the Love series, Is This Love?

Here's the blurb: Rocco Silva has zero interest in getting in front of the camera again. After being eliminated, not once, but twice when he competed on "Slave to Love," a reality TV show where a submissive looks for a Dominant, he's become the laughing stock in his BDSM and professional communities. He pours his full concentration on his work as the owner of a garbage company until a sexy woman walks into his life.

Gia Curtiss is tired of her work as a staff photographer in a discount store. After earning her filmmaking degree, she wants to put her education to use by doing a documentary. After a friend tells her of an opportunity to work as a production assistant for Ananda Morton, the producer of "Slave to Love," Gia decides to see the woman about a different proposition. She pitches the idea of doing a documentary on the twice-rejected contestant from her show. Ananda doesn't think the man will do it and challenges Gia to get him to agree. If he does, Ananda will hire her as a director.

Gia thinks she has it made until she runs into opposition with Rocco. He has no interest in making a fool of himself again unless Gia agrees to go on camera with him, allowing him to play with her. When Gia gets caught up with playing with Rocco, it's hard for her to discern what's real and what's just for show. Can she figure out her feelings before filming ends? Will he allow himself to be vulnerable for this special woman?

The book will available to the public on November 10th, but attendees of the "Kickin' It" event will get it early. I'm crossing fingers, toes, and eyes that readers will love the book.

Okay, I need to get back to planning this event.

Stay sexy,

Friday, September 11, 2015

VIP Reader Goodies: Free Serial Novella Coming Soon

Hey there lovelies!

Today I'm coming to you with an update on the Playing with Bad Boys series I've been working on this year.

First, the bad news: I'm delaying the launch of the series. I'd originally planned to release the first book later this month. The book is completed and beta reader-approved, but I've decided to complete all three books in the series before I release the first one. So the new publication date for Playing It Safe is my birthday, March 1, 2016.

Now for the good news. I couldn't leave you hanging for five months. So I'm writing a prequel novella to the series which will be available as a serial novella, beginning Friday, November 6th. The novella will be delivered each Friday to members of my VIP Reader mailing list for free! So if you're not already part of my VIP Reader family, be sure to put your name on the list here.

The novella will remain available in my VIP Reader Lounge, also launching November 6th, for two weeks after the final installment. Then the book will go on sale on Amazon on Friday, February 12th--Valentine's Day weekend. An appropriate time to launch a book where Valentine's Day plays a major role in getting my characters together.

I'm thrilled about this unexpected story and the opportunity to gift it to my VIP Readers. So excuse me while I break into my happy dance.

I've spent the past two weeks plotting and now writing the story of Hunter & Meredith. Unlike the rest of the series, which takes place in a fictional beach town called Pleasure Cove, this story takes place in London and gives us the backstory for the hero in Playing It Safe, Liam DeSeau. I'm a little in love with Hunter & Merrie's characters and Meredith's wild child cousin, who just might be paying a visit to Pleasure Cove.

Hope you'll join me in the VIP Readers Lounge. Meanwhile, may you have an awesome weekend worthy of your best happy dance.

Coming Soon courtesy of Dennis Skley.

Monday, September 7, 2015

You want Cheese with that Whine?

Hi, Kittens.

What? You're laughing at me and wondering why I misspelled "wine" in context with the "cheese?" I didn't make a mistake here. In case you haven't heard, author Adrienne Kama and I are putting on an in-person event in November in Williamsburg called "Kickin' It with Adrienne Kama and Bridget Midway." Registration is open now. The registration fee is $45 until September 19th. After that, it'll go up to $55.

So we advertised that the event will be on Saturday, November 7th from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Guess what? We're adding an additional event on the Friday night before the event we're called "Whine and Cheese", because when you're getting your ass spanked, there's always a little bit of whining and crying.

The Friday night event is from 8 p.m. to 11 p.m. It is not free and open to the public. You do have to register for the event and pay. Registrants will be able to get up close and personal with adult toys commonly used in BDSM play. They'll also mix and mingle with people in the Lifestyle and can ask them questions. So if you've already registered, do you have to pay an additional amount for this extra Friday night event? Nope! Adrienne and I love our readers. We want to give you the best event possible.

In order for us to do that, I need to get off here and get some writing done.

Stay sexy,


Friday, September 4, 2015

#ThisTenderMelody- Coming Soon!

Hey, Y'all!

So this isn't my normal blog day, but here I am. There are two reasons for me going off schedule:

1. Our dear Loretta Walls (who normally blogs first Fridays) has moved on from Hot MAMA Land to focus on other ventures. We will miss her so much, and will continue to support her in whatever she chooses to do next. We love you, Loretta!

2. I have an upcoming release AND an in-person event to tell you about.

Saturday, October 3, 2015, I'll be having my FIRST EVER live, in person release party, to celebrate the release of my debut Kimani Romance title, THIS TENDER MELODY. You have pre-ordered it, right? I mean it will be out in less than two weeks in print. You can click here to grab your copy, if you haven't already.

 This is actually my 25th book, and I'm so excited to be having a celebratory event for it. What's more, the event will take place at the Blue Restaurant and Bar, which inspired the Blue Lounge- the venue where my jazz quartet, the Queen City Gents, plays a weekly gig. Pretty cool, right?

Tickets are only $35 and will include an autographed book, a goody bag, a full sit down dinner, and an awesome live jazz performance by the Presley Group. That's a lot for $35, y'all. Click here to grab your ticket, and I suggest doing it soon. Only 40 people can attend due to the size of the venue, and you don't want to miss out!

I really hope to see you there! This is the progression of events that I deem ideal. 

You purchase THIS TENDER MELODY, in your preferred reading format, and begin to read like this:

Then, you finish it, and are so satisfied with how wonderful it was, you can't wait to tell others.

SO enamored with the story, you realize you simply MUST be in attendance at the release party, so you purchase your ticket and make arrangements.

You journey to Charlotte, ready to have an awesome night with me and other readers who loved the book. And above all, you remember this:

LOL! Ya'll know I'm just being silly. Seriously though, click here and cop those tickets. It's going to be a fun night!

Until Next Time, 

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Angie "The Shoe Diva" Daniels

From the moment I met Ms. Angie Daniels I knew she was a DIVA. What impressed me was she made no apologies for it. When she steps into a room it is with the grace of Grace Kelly, and the confidence of Patti LaBelle. There is no pretenses with Ms. Angie. She is who she is and I love her for it. Ms. Angie is the true definition of a HOT MAMA! 

Since she has a book coming out on August 25th, this is a good time to give her some shine. 

Ms. Angie, take center stage and shine! 

What do people think when they first meet you?
I don’t know. I guess I need to ask them. LOL. I hope they think I’m very approachable, beautiful, and crazy as hell.

Three words that best describe you.
Confident, sexy, and beautiful (what else would a diva say?)

Books that influenced you the most.
I get ask that question a lot and it’s hard to say. I think any book I have read has influenced me in some shape or fashion. I love to read and reading is what inspires me. As I writer I find myself dissecting stories, looking at the way the author created the characters, the way the visual picture is painted. There is much more to books than just mere words.

How do you unwind?
An apple martini and HGTV. LOL (I’m cracking myself up). Usually a few rounds of kickboxing does the trick.

What does nobody know about Angie Daniels?
What nobody knows is Angie Daniels can’t keep a man! LOL I’m a whole lotta woman to deal with. Few people know I am currently serving active duty with the Virginia Air National Guard. I work long ten-hour days and then run home, slip off the boots and slide my feet into a pair of stilettos in order to get those creative juices flowing for an hour or two before bedtime.

What do you prefer, traditional or self-publishing?
I prefer self-publishing, however, I think every author should try to go the traditional route. It’s a great way to get marketing and to build a fan base. Once you do, you will truly appreciate being self-published because you’ll have complete control of every aspect when it comes to your work. The experience has been liberating.

Share your insights on becoming a USA Today Bestselling Author.
I was at work when I received the call from Yvette Hines and I was floored. I didn’t think it was going to happen. Multicultural box sets don’t make the list, but we did it! I was in a daze for the rest of the day. I’ve been doing this for fifteen years so it’s a wonderful feeling. It’s a wonderful reward. (The new title looks amazing on my book cover). LOL Hitting the USAT list was a collaborated effort that took strategic marketing and the support of our fans to make it happen.

What motivates you to write?
I’m going to have to say my fans because there are many days I rather just take a month off, but then I’ll receive an email from a reader and it just gives me the energy to keep going.

Good People are hard to find. So when you come across one you do all you can to share their shine with others. Angie "The Shoe Diva" Daniels is such a person. 

Was there ever a time you wanted to step away from the literary game?
Yes, absolutely. When you’re writing for a major publishing house and they’re ripping you off that’s enough reason for you to say to hell with writing. It just isn’t worth it. It was the readers that convinced me to stay. They enjoyed my work regardless if it’s traditional publishing or self-publishing, just as long as I keep writing. That’s the pay off.

Tell us about Put Your Name on It    10&keywords=Angie+DanielsThis is a story that I spent almost a year trying to figure out how to make it work. Claudia Winters is in love with Maximillian James unfortunately he’s possibly the father of a baby by another woman and despite how Claudia feels she doesn’t do baby mama drama She tries to resist temptation only Max plans to prove to her that regardless of the circumstance her heart belongs to him. He has turned out to be one of my favorite characters to create. The book drops 25 August 2015.

Is this book a part of a series?
Put Your Name on It starts where Say My Name left off and is part of my Decadent Delight series. It goes way back to A Delight Before Christmas with Reggie and Berlin. The books center around five gorgeous milk-chocolate general contractors in the heart of St. Louis. I’ve always had a love for men who used their hands.

What motivated you to write this story?

The readers. They have been asking for Max’s story so I had to find a way to make it happen. I hope they like what I came up with. This is the largest book I have written in years. 95,000 words to be exact.

Who is up next in the series?
Trey and Mia will be the next story to unfold. Not sure when that’s going to happen. I have a few other stories to release before them.

Overall, how many books have you written?
I don’t know. Really I don’t. I lost count. Between Angie Daniels and my pseudonym Sasha Campbell I know it’s more than 30. I feel blessed to still be writing after fifteen years.

You spread your wings a little in 2014 to add acting to your resume. How was that experience? Unbelievable! I’ve been acting up all my life, but working on The Heart series was truly an unforgettable experience. I didn’t know how much hard work was involved, and I was nervous as hell but as the actors grew close and became more like a close knit family, it became so much easier to relax. I’m ready to get started for season two.

If you could turn one of your novels into a motion picture which would you choose and why?
Probably In The Company of My Sistahs. That is one book that is still dear to my heart. I love crazy chick flicks when women can let their hair down and act a fool. That book gives readers a taste of just about everything.

I hope you enjoyed a moment with the one and only Angie. 

Ms. Angie, thank you for taking the time to share a little of you with the readers. May you continue to shine with each step you take.  

Until the next time,
Iris B 

Friday, August 14, 2015

I'm late and I blame Bridget Midway!

Let me fan girl for a moment.

Bridget Midway is awesome. Just freaking amazing with the pen and telling BDSM stories that can't be classified as "Mommy Porn."

Take Slave To Love, which I have been reading non-stop. I let things let deadlines pass. Sorry for the late post, but reading about Taren and Jace transported me to another world.

Bridget called Jace her onion and when you read this book, you will understand why. Now, you will be doing yourself a disservice if you don't read Love My Way  first. I re-read it before diving into Slave To Love. 

I was so into these books that I forgot Preseason Football had started. And if you know me, you know that is some big time ish!

Here's what I learned as a writer reading Bridget's books, RESEARCH, RESEARCH, RESEARCH.
I also learned, when life gives you 50 Shades, become a shade tree. Oh, Bridget did that without being mean or nasty. I wish she'd teach me that.

And now I want a whip! Not just because I'm going to be Catwoman for Halloween and the new Heroes-Con in Charlotte, but because I think there is a Domme in me. (Does that really surprise anyone?)

But, umm, Bridget, my book is not signed! LOL!

Getting to Know New-to-Me Multicultural Authors

Last month I made a dark, deep confession over on Contemporary Romance Cafe, where I also blog each month. In my post, Celebrating Diversity in Romance (or Why #WeNeedDiverseRomance), I recounted the disturbing realization I arrived at in the months leading up to the release of my debut novel, Making the First Move, released in 2013.

Diversify Your Shelves Campaign photo courtesy of Kelly Garbato.
It suddenly hit me that I was a black author of romantic fiction, writing about black characters. Yet, I'd read ZERO black romance.

I know. BAD. Really bad.

I was a voracious reader as a kid, gobbling up the work of authors like Judy Blume and Paula Danzinger and reveling in the joys of classics like Little Women and Pride and Prejudice -- two of my favorite books still. Yet, I can't recall a single book that I read back then written by a POC author or featuring POC characters.

As an adult, when I started reading fiction again, I consumed mostly chick lit, women's fiction and the occasional literary fiction. Through recommendations or library displays I stumbled across and came to adore authors like Pearl Cleage (LOVE. HER.), Benilde Little, Bebe Moore Campbell and Alisa Valdes-Rodriguez. Still, in the scheme of things, this represented a very small proportion of the books I was reading.

Once I became a reader of romance, I read mostly mainstream novels. I wasn't actively looking for books by black, Latino, Asian or Native American authors because I made the false assumption many open-minded readers make. I was simply looking for my next good book, expecting that books by POC authors would be among them.


After decades of that experiment, I can tell you with great certainty that relatively few multicultural books found their way to me. So it was time to change things up.

I sought out African American romance. In doing so, I discovered fabulous stories by authors like Farrah Rochon, Beverly Jenkins, A.C. Arthur, Brenda Jackson, Francis Ray and Rochelle Alers. I've been kicking myself for not discovering these authors sooner.

So you can imagine how thrilled I was when author KM Jackson started the #WeNeedDiverseRomance campaign, as an extension of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign. I got how important it was to bring awareness to the imbalance in the publishing industry and on local library shelves when it comes to diversity. The movement calls for new voices of color in publishing. But it is also very much about making people aware of the wealth of fantastic authors in a rainbow of shades and ethnicities who already exist and have been doing the damn thing for years. 

The #WeNeedDiverseRomance movement isn't just about making mainstream readers aware of books by POC authors. It's also about making POC readers aware that those books exist and need to be supported with our dollars. This movement has also led me to discover fabulous authors of Indian, Asian and Latino descent. Authors I probably wouldn’t have discovered, had I not been actively seeking them.

It made me want to do my part to "bang the drum" as Kianna Alexander likes to say. So I began a series of interviews with POC authors over on my blog, Recent interviewees include Elle Wright, Erin Ashley Tanner and Tasha L. Harrison. (If you're a POC author, you can request an interview slot here.)

When did you first discover African American romance? Who are some of your favorite POC authors?

Diversify Your Shelves Campaign photo courtesy of Kelly Garbato.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Beautiful hats, beaches and books!

What better way to kick off the summer than with fly hats, readers and books. The Hot MAMAs spent a wonderful day in Greensboro, NC with readers. The Fly Hat Society Meet and Greet was a huge success with hats in a multitude of colors and styles. Thanks to the Greensboro Central Library for putting up with us. I had the honor of joining some of my favorite authors, Bridget Midway, Cheris Hodges, Iris Bolling, Kianna Alexander, Loretta Walls, Reese Ryan, Yvette Hines and even Altonya Washington who was unable to attend sent a video. I think I can speak for all of the authors when I say we are so thankful for our readers. As the summer moved forward I headed to Myrtle Beach to hang out with A.C Arthur at her beach bash. What better way to spend the day and nights than at the beach with sun, sand, readers and books. We had so much fun. I hadn’t laughed so hard in a very long time. From the hula hoop contest where my old school self showed the new school how it’s done to the grown and sexy hour hosted by Yvette Hines, Bridget Midway and Sienna Mynx . Even the battle of the sexes where Cheris Hodges and I faced off with Keith Thomas and Roy Glen and yes, before anyone ask, the women won! I needed help though. My questions were really hard. Who cares what the voltage of a car battery is anyway. I know how to jump one. Hehehe. I found out later the men didn’t know either. I can’t wait to find out what the coming months will bring forth.

Monday, August 3, 2015

There's no escape. I'm a SLAVE TO LOVE.

Hi, Kittens!

So this is it. If you weren't at A.C. Arthur's Beach Bask in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, you weren't on the ground floor to get my highly anticipated (hopefully) sequel to Love My Way called Slave to Love. It's published by Phaze Books and will be released tomorrow, Tuesday, August 4th. I cannot wait for this release!

This is ten years in the making. I had never planned to write a sequel, mainly because I didn't think I could top Love My Way, and, logistically, I didn't see how a submissive would be able to pick her Dominant. With some age, wisdom, and a bit more in-person BDSM research, I figured out how the scenario could work. I just hope that readers dig the story. I know I had fun writing it.

I did something in this book I had never done before. A couple of readers contacted me before I started writing this book and asked me if I would include them as characters in any of my books. Because it was the readers that prompted me to write a sequel, I thought this would be the perfect book to include them and some other readers. I just hope they still like the story and me after the read what I did to them in the book. Definitely a lot of blood, sweat, and tears.

After this release, the next book will be Is This Love?, also published by Phaze Books. That book will be out in time for my event in November, "Kickin' It with Adrienne Kama and Bridget Midway." I'd like to say that I'll never include readers as characters again because it was so difficult to be "mean" to them in the story, but I have this third book and I have already started it.

To make sure this book gets released on time, I need to go and get to work.

Stay sexy,


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What She Said: #WeNeedDiverseRomance

Hey, yall,

Normally I don't do it,  but this blog post by Rebekah Weatherspoon is giving me so much life, Ima just share it. She's strumming my pain with her fingers, singing my life with her words. Go on over to her blog and get schooled on how to support diverse romance. She said a mouthful,  and I am HERE for it!


Friday, July 10, 2015

Preparing for Tomorrow's #FlyHatEvent

Tomorrow is the day we've been waiting for. The Hot M.A.M.A.s will be taking Greensboro by storm during our Fly Hat Society Meet & Greet.

I'm super-excited about the event. As one of the two newest M.A.M.A.s, this will be my first in-person event with the group. So not only am I looking forward to meeting you, dear reader, I'm also looking forward to meeting most of the other M.A.M.A.s for the first time.

It'll be easy to spot me. I'll be the one fan-girling over my fellow authors who looks totally out of place in a big ol', Sunday-morning-first-row-of-church hat. In fact, you should have seen the look on my adult son's face yesterday when I tried on hats for the event. One eyebrow cranked to the ceiling, jaw down to the floor.


At least I got a good laugh out of it. In the end, I picked two hats and I'll make my final decision tonight. Still, it'll be fun to step outside of my regular, low-key, ain't-nothing-to-see-here approach and take on the big hat persona. ('Cause a big hat definitely deserves its own persona.)

For the past two days I've been ticking items off my to-do list in preparation for tomorrow's Meet & Greet.

Dress? Check.

Shoes? Check.

Book cover graphics? Check.

Awesome giveaways? Check.

Fly hat? Double check.

Looks like I'm ready to go. Hope you are, too. :-)

Tomorrow will be a fun-filled, free event for lovers of multicultural romance. Great readers and authors. Yummy food. And, of course, lots of fun and plenty of laughter. I can't wait to connect with you tomorrow in Greensboro at the Greensboro Central Library on North Church Street from 2-6 PM.

Still on the fence about coming? Above is a sneak peek at some of the goodies you could win tomorrow, either in the fly hat contest, or by signing up for my Reese Ryan VIP Mailing List.

See you there!

Monday, July 6, 2015

(Re)Introducing - ADRIENNE KAMA!

Hi Kittens,

I'm branching out this month. For my July blog entry, I'm posting an interview with interracial erotic romance author Adrienne Kama so you all can get to know her. She's the author who will be co-hosting the "Kickin' It with Adrienne Kama and Bridget Midway" event in Williamsburg on November 7th, 2015.

How long have you been writing as Adrienne Kama?  
I published my first book back in 2004 and wrote steadily until 2007, publishing eight stories. My marriage fell apart in 2006 and I ended up taking a very long hiatus from writing. I started publishing as Adrienne Kama again this year.

What was your first work out as Adrienne Kama, and is it still available? 
The Nephilim War, a story about sexy fallen angels. No. It’s no longer available.

Where can readers find you? (URLs, FB - both accounts, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, etc.). 
My website: 

Why do you write interracial romance? 
I’ve always been an equal opportunist when it comes to dating so the stories I write reflect this. I’ve written stories with men of a few different ethnicities. Let’s see. I’ve covered, black, white, Indian, and Puerto Rican. Keeping it diverse makes it interesting for me, and hopefully, my readers. 

Why do you write BDSM? 
I wish I could say I had a grand plan, but honestly, it just sort of happened. I read BDSM stories; Anne Rice’s Sleepy Beauty series is one of my all-time favorites. Also, around the time that I wrote the Stella Rice series, my now ex-husband and I discovered the fetish scenes of Baltimore and DC. After reading Anne Rice’s series, I was curious, plus, they always played the best music! They had live BDSM shows at many of the clubs. We never took part. LOL But I was amazed that so many people were as interested in BDSM as I was. So writing a BDSM story seemed the next natural thing for me to do. At the same time, my author friend, Marianne LaCroix started a publishing house and asked me to submit. I’m paraphrasing, but she basically told me to go for it, as far as content. I hadn’t told her I was writing a BDSM story, but the timing was perfect. I could write the kind of BDSM story I enjoyed reading.

Why interracial BDSM romance?  
No grand reason here, either. I’m kind of ridiculous that way. I’d gone for a run around the lake at my hometown and saw this very tall, gorgeous man running that day. He was fit and looked incredibly focused on what he was doing. My imagination took it from there. 

Are you in the BDSM lifestyle in your real life? If not, how do you do your research? 
I’m single now, plus I live in a small town, so there’s not much going on for me in the way of BDSM at the moment. Back when I lived in Maryland, with Baltimore and DC so close, everything was at my fingertips. Book research was easy.

I didn’t realize when I first became interested in BDSM the varying levels of interest that exist. For instance, just because someone is into BDSM doesn’t mean they like sado-masochism. They may prefer domination. Or if they do like bondage, they may enjoy being handcuffed to a bed, whereas someone else may be down with elaborate rope bondage. Once, when my ex-husband and I were in Georgetown, we went to this high end fetish boutique. Yes, they have those. And they had this elaborate leather arm bar contraption that the sub would slip her arms into. It covers both of her arms from hands to shoulders and laces up the middle. If I remember correctly, it was made for the sub’s arms to be behind the back, but could probably be worn either way. Five hundred bucks for this bad boy and it was a good seller. But something like that would make me feel claustrophobic! So there are so many levels of interest in BDSM. That’s one of the things that makes it so interesting to write about.

Any backlash from anything you’ve written? If so, for what work and what were the comments? 
Writing in the BDSM genre is a bit different from other genres. A bad review on Amazon with a reader complaining the author went too far, generally sells more books. Overall, I find that as long as the reader knows the heroine is having a good time, they feel comfortable enough to suspend reality and go on the journey with the author. If the reader feels the heroine is being raped or forced in any way, they won’t enjoy the story.

Do you have any current books out as Adrienne Kama? If so, post the titles and blurbs for each. 
Sure. Most of my backlist is no longer available, but I’m re-publishing most of the stories. 

The Chronicles of Stella Rice: Book One:

After one too many bad dates, Stella Rice gives up on men. Happily-ever-after doesn’t seem to figure anywhere in her future, unless it means being single in Baltimore where her closest companions are her three best girlfriends. But a trip to the gym and an unexpected encounter with her domineering kickboxing instructor, Jake Santos, leads Stella to wonder if she should give the man/woman thing another go. With a successful business, an exclusive home on Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, and stunning good looks, Jake seems like the perfect man to pull Stella out of her dating rut.

Half Puerto Rican and half Native American, with a mane of long sable hair, Jake Santos has the kind of dark good looks that make him impossible to ignore. What Stella doesn't know is Jake has secrets that will make every other man from her past look like a saint.

Now available on Amazon.


Can wishes come true? A simple wish to erase a particularly annoying man from her past brings Peyton Pendagrass face to face with the very man she was hoping to expunge. Peyton finds out just how confusing life can get when lust, time travel and a little white magic get entangled. For Christopher Grant, learning his one-time lover Peyton is engaged to marry someone else shatters his world. Six months ago his longing for Peyton left him too terrified to face the fact that he was falling in love with her, so he fled. But fear isn't an issue anymore. Alone with Peyton for the weekend, Chris is prepared to use everything in his arsenal to win her back. Even if he has to hold her captive, tie her down and use all of his sexual prowess to do it.

Now available on Amazon.

How did you and Bridget Midway come up with your “Kickin’ It with Adrienne Kama and Bridget Midway” event coming November 7th
This is an event Bridget has done before. I think if it has to do with selling books, Bridget has done it! For this one, she was kind enough to ask me if I wanted to take part. I jumped at it!

Will you have a new release for that event? If so, what is it (title and blurb)?  
I will. The Chronicles of Stella Rice: Book Three. I don’t have the blurb yet, since I’m still making changes to the story, but the book promises to be as fun as Book One and Book Two! Book Two, by the way, is coming out on June 26th!
Now available on Amazon!

Bridget Midway has been very open in saying that you inspired her to write interracial BDSM erotic romance. Do you have any inspirations - BDSM or otherwise?  
There are two authors who write fantastic BDSM. Anne Rice, who everyone knows. And Morgan Hawke. If you’ve never read a Morgan Hawke erotic romance, you need to. Today. Right now. She’s incredible.

What inspires you to write BDSM?  
It’s fun, exciting, and pretty much no holds barred. I have two additional BDSM books I’m considering writing. One is a fantasy, the other, a contemporary. 

What inspires you to write? 
I’ve always told stories. I’m only fully happy when I’m writing.

 Where do you see Adrienne Kama in the next five years?  
Honestly, I don’t know. I had retired ‘her,’ but there was so much reader demand for me to finish out the Stella Rice trilogy that I brought her back just to do that. But the response has been so positive, it’s hard to pack her away again. And like I said, I have so many other BDSM tales I’d like to tell.

BDSM is hot right now. Where do you see that genre going in the next five years?  
I paranormal stories under my real name, Heather Elizabeth King. One series could have been classified as an urban fantasy, but the urban fantasy genre doesn’t sell as well as it used to. I don’t see the same thing happening with BDSM. It’s such a specialized area of fiction. The readers will always read BDSM. I’m an old heavy metal girl. One thing I love about metal is that the fans are devoted. Same goes for BDSM.

Besides BDSM, is there anything else Adrienne Kama writes?  
I write paranormal romance and paranormal mysteries under my name, Heather Elizabeth King.

What is your writing process? 
I work outside the home full-time as a business analyst in corporate America, so I don’t have as much time as I’d like. Typically, I get home from work and sort of meditate for about 30 minutes. It’s like I’m letting the business analyst go and becoming the author. Don’t laugh! It works for me. Then I make dinner, eat, watch a little TV, then I slide behind the laptop and write. My goal is 2,000 words a day. I don’t always get there. As long as I get over 1,000, I feel productive.

Any rituals you perform before you sit down to write? 
Not really, other than my 30 minute quiet period. I look out the window, lay with the cats, and try not to think.

Pants-er or Plotter? 
Total planner. But my outlines are what I call, living documents. I always feel free to make whatever changes the characters want me to make.

What was the best advice given to you before you got published, as a published author, and/or now?  
Write. All the promo in the world doesn’t help if you don’t have anything to promote.

What advice would you give to a yet-to-be-published author?  
Allow yourself a first draft that nobody will see except you. It doesn’t have to be pretty, you just have to get the story out. Making it pretty is what the 2nd and 3rd drafts are for. I typically do about 4 drafts of a book before I send it to my beta readers.

Chocolate or vanilla? 

Any guilty pleasures?  
As Tom Hiddleston once said, “The thing is, I never feel guilty about pleasures.”

Last book you read? 
Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s The Fall. It’s the sequel to The Strain. Yep, I’m getting ready for season two of the TV show.

Last movie you watched? 
"Out of the Dark", starring Julia Stiles and Scott Speedman. I’m a horror movie junkie! 

One surprising fact that readers would be shocked to know?  
I used to play lead guitar in a funk/rock group.

Dogs or cats?  
Both are irresistible!

Boxers or briefs?  
Boxers for sure.

Stay sexy,