Taking the multicultural genre to higher ground

After browsing through my Google alerts, I came across an interesting article in Publishers Weekly that veteran African-American writer, Donna Hill (one of my favorite authors) has launched her own e-publishing company, InnerVision Books.

The first thing that popped into my mind was Stevie Wonder’s (and I’m dating myself) “Innervisions” album because it was a collection of lofty songs such as, “Higher Ground”, “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing,” and “Living for the City.” IMHO, these were songs of hope, struggle, achievement, and love.

InnerVision Books will publish fiction, poetry and non-fiction in a digital format. Its name, which is reminiscent of Stevie’s songs, implies (again, IMHO) that it might also offer hope to authors—veteran and aspiring—who write multicultural characters and plots, but are struggling to achieve success.

With a publishing company dedicated to highlighting “multiculturalism in a global society,” authors have a chance to work with a company that understands that multicultural literature is expansive and layered, and shouldn’t be placed in one section of the bookstore.

And InnerVision Books doesn’t want to stop at e-publishing. Eventually they would like to publish trade paperback editions as well. Woohoo!

It’s wonderful to see a publishing company dedicated to working with authors of the multicultural genre.

Perhaps well-written multicultural stories that don’t make it to the larger publishers, because they’re not, “a good fit” or “not what they’re looking for,” will fit perfectly with InnerVision Books and be exactly what they seek to publish.

Bravo to Donna Hill and other publishers, who look for ways to tell these stories and embrace them.

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Technicolor Love

74957027As a romance junkie, I grew up on Barbara Cartland. I borrowed books from my friends whose parents were a little more freethinking than mine were (or maybe they did a better job at sneaking them in the house than I did).

In any case, I was intrigued by fascinating stories of the brooding prince or the dashing duke, who scoffed at the fair maiden or virgin bride, only to fall madly in love with her in the end. After ravishing the book under my bedcovers with the standard, all-purpose two C battery flashlight, I sighed and dreamt of happily ever after.

Barbara Cartland’s, and later, Kathleen Woodiwiss’ books appeased my appetite for romance, but it was not until the late seventies than I began to feel slighted. I grew tired of always reading about the man touching “her alabaster skin.” I wondered where the books that spoke about love from a multicultural point of view were. Looking at my parents, I knew that African-American and other nationalities experienced loving relationships, but I did not see them portrayed in books.

Thank god for the early eighties when things started to pop for the African-American romance novelist. I am so appreciative of the many authors who pen romances from every prospective: multicultural, gay, lesbian, erotic, vampires, multiple lovers. It gives thirsty readers a chance to drink their fill with variety and diversity.

If you glanced at my favorite author’s list, you see I read a variety of authors. I love romance, period. However, it is nice to know that if I want to slip into something comfortable for a chocolate hunk, or spend some time with a Spanish hottie, like my hero Marcus in “The Heat Between Us”–I can. To see what I mean, peek at Chapter 1 of my upcoming book. (Whew!)

I love writing about multicultural characters who embody passion for life and love, because there is tenderness and romance in all aspects of life, much of it is just a page or two away.