Happy MLK Day!
I couldn’t think of a lovelier person to spotlight today. Kimberly aka Kimmers is a fantastic lady who has been extremely supportive of my career. She’s one of the first bloggers to embrace me writing M/M romance. Many authors who write in different subgenres can sometimes find it difficult to tap into a new audience when branching out. I’m proud to say Kimmers signed up for my Complexity blog tour without any hesitation, and she’s continued to support my writing endeavors since the tour. You should totally get to know this awesometastic lady who is all about spreading joy and equality in Romancelandia. We could certainly use more of it!
Take it away Kimmers…
Everyone is asked this question. Librarians, bloggers, authors, no one is immune! We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. I’m sure the same can be said for bloggers. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?
Nothing. I’m not really a very private person – to know me is to know everything, good and bad. Over sharer here! *waves hands in air*
What would you give up, if you could?
OMG, I really had to laugh at this one. I looked at the hubs and said, “Do I have any vices?” His response was, “None you don’t like.” *snort* So, I guess I’m going with my love of carbs. Good Lord, now that I’m perimenopausal they’re killing me!
What was the best book you read in 2017?
Funny, but my best book of 2017 came right on the heels of the year and absolutely blindsided me. Because it’s marketed as a holiday story I was expecting, well, I don’t know what I was expecting - but I got soooo much more! Sean Kerr’s Santa’s Sack is the most thought provoking narrative I have read in some time. I was literally sobbing reading segments out loud to my husband. Who had glistening eyes himself. What makes this book so powerful is that you can tell Sean put so much of himself into it. His passions and feelings, and that type of raw exposure always captivates me. The “holiday” part of it is so minuscule compared to the overall theme and message of this tale. Average every day men, real, relatable, with a love that is undeniable. The emotion just bleeds off the page. It’s a story of love, loss, grief, hope, and belief in something more! It’s definitely a story that will stay with me forever, making my list of top reads – and one I will highly recommend for the foreseeable future. You can read Kimmers’ Goodreads review here.
Since the world is a crazy place these days and you can’t turn on the news without encountering something awful, how are you dealing with the madness? What’s your #1 form of self-care?
Honestly, family and reading. My husband and my girls are my lifeline while my book characters give me an escape. Also, I don’t watch TV (I’ve only watched about 20 hours in 2017) and in recent months I’ve had to pull back on social media as it was all just draining my spirit.
You’ve done one of the sweetest things I think I have ever seen a reader/blogger do for an author they adore, you carved out space in your home to showcase an individual author’s work. It’s clear a lot of love and care went into creating the space. Can you tell us a bit about what inspired your gesture of appreciation?
Wow, I’m glad you like it Harper. Actually I’m a very sentimental person at heart and when something, or someone, touches me in a profound way I must express that. Reading Joseph Lance Tonlet’s work, especially Grif’s Toy, opened my eyes in more ways than one and changed my life, I believe for the better. I couldn’t think of a more fitting way to express that than a permanent display I can sit and look at from my desk each day that reminds me of the power of the written word. And Grif holds a place of honor as he was the catalyst to my creating KEBB.
You might not know but I also have a tattoo which shows my appreciation of 2 authors’ works.
If you were one of Snow White’s seven dwarfs, which dwarf would you be and why?
I’m gonna be honest here, I had to look these up. The only ones I could remember were Grumpy, Doc and Dopey and those are definitely not me. At least I hope not. Although I wouldn’t mind having Doctor credentials. *winks* Since I only average about 4-5 hours a sleep a day it’s gotta be Sleepy.
What inspired you to create your blog?
I kinda already hinted at it but reading Grif’s Toy by Joseph Lance Tonlet created a spark in me. I never in a million years thought I would talk to an author, let alone the author. After getting to know Joseph a bit, and dabbling into the taboo genre (which by the way I adore), I discovered that getting the word out there about that niche is very difficult. With his, and Louis Stevens’, encouragement of my work I decided I wanted to create a space where those types of books could be highlighted and reach readers. I had no idea how that one little step would snowball into something so much bigger than I could ever imagine. I am very proud of what KEBB has become and I’m honored to have a fabulous team of individuals who walk the journey with me every day.
What’s the sexiest quote you’ve ever read in a romance novel?
“The real beauty behind submission is defined by how a man submits with no chains present, no physical restraint, just a pure will to allow someone else to control the moment, here and on full and stunning display.” From Jack L. Pyke’s Breakdown
What are some trends you’d like to see happen in the romance genre within the next five years?
My answer is going to be in relation to LGBTQ romance as that is where my passion lies and the community I am more intimate with as far as the genre goes.
I’d like to see authors tackle relationships after the “happily ever after” or the “happy for now.” We get so much of how a relationship began and what got them there but very rarely do we get the “what now.” Whenever I have young friends ask how my husband and I make it work I tell them, “Marriage is hard work and you are never the same person twice. You have to learn to change with each other.” I’d like to see our protagonists tackling real world issues. Give me guts, get down and dirty. Maybe one has lost their job devastating them financially…show me how they overcome this together? Does one find themselves with a wandering eye now that the original hot lust is gone, overtaken by menial everyday tasks…how are they getting their spark back? Do they find their political views warring…take me on their journey to find common ground? To me these types of stories show our younger generation that relationships are not all rainbows and unicorns and it instills in them that lasting partnerships are worth fighting for.
Two part question: If you had the power to have any romance novel turned into a Passionflix movie, what book would you choose and why? Who would you cast as the lead characters?
Oh, oh, oh…no question, Jack L. Pyke’s Don’t… series. OMG, that would make the most amazing collection of movies. Complex characters, psychological drama and suspense with dark twists that make your heart race and your gut clench. Plus the beautiful dynamic between the 3 men – what’s not to like? Obviously you meant dark romance, right? LOL! As for who I would cast as the characters I’m never good at this because when I read I simply see them as who they are in my mind’s eye, their stature, physique, voices – everything. It’s like comparing my children to someone, they are absolutely unique. The one I can see though is Jack. I can totally see Ryan Reynolds playing him. I think he could get Jack’s smart-ass charm and tumultuous emotions down pat!
Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?
Oh yes! Let’s just say my husband enjoys the perks of my reading. We’re kinda new at it, and some might call our baby steps a little unconventional, but the way we approach it works for us…and that’s what matters. Right!? *grins*
Our mission at Kimmers’ Erotic Book Banter blog is simple: We want to bring authors and readers together…through mutual respect! We do this by offering our fair and honest opinion on a variety of LGBTQ reads, including Contemporary Romance, Erotic(a) Romance, Ménage, Paranormal, Dark, BDSM, Taboo, and more. As well as participating in book tours, blasts, cover reveals, exclusives, and numerous other promos. We are very passionate about using our platform to educate. We want to guide you how to use eBook retailers beyond Amazon, instruct you how to download non-purchased Amazon eBooks to your Kindle as well as teach you what goes into an author creating a “read ready” book. In addition we feel very strongly about supporting the taboo book community and authors. Some of the ways we accomplish this are through our Taboo Tuesday feature, as well as through our reviews of taboo reads.
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For anyone familiar with KEBB we are aware you hlave been experiencing some slowness with our site. Believe me we are experiencing the same frustration andp we apologize! We have tried to work with WIX extensively to no avail.
GOOD NEWS…we are set to partner with a friend in the industry who will be designing an entirely NEW blog sight for us the first of the year. With that comes some exciting changes. First, as of January 1 we will solely be an LGBTQ inclusive blog highlighting reads in all relative genres. Second we hope to provide some exclusive content with authors in our monthly newsletter. And for those who enjoy their social media, with this new platform we intend to get more-savvy as we venture to create a Twitter and Pinterest page.
So…be on the lookout! And with that said, I want to thank each of you for all of your support of the Banter, we wouldn’t be here without you.
Annnnnd we’re back on schedule. Happy Monday, folks! Let’s do this!
I have a confession to make. I fangirl a lot over authors whose books I love, but Savannah brings out some serious fangirling. LOL, I’m amazed I kept my cool when I met her last year at RT. I’m not a big on rereads, but I love revisiting Benjamin and Coralee from Being Plumville when I need a pick me up. It’s the friends to lovers trope. TUGS AT MY HEARTSTRINGS EVERY SINGLE TIME! 💕💕💕
Get to know a little about the woman who penned one of my favorite slow burn romance novels! Take it away Savannah…
I always find author interviews kind of boring. We only get to see one side of an author, the polite side. If you had an evil doppelganger, what detail would they enjoy revealing about you to the public that people would find surprising and possibly questionable?
Right out the gate, huh? LOL, uh, this is probably tame for other people, but I have had a booty call! And that’s where I’m going to leave that.
Name one habit/behavior you’re trying to improve.
Hoarding my stories. I have a lot that haven’t seen the light of day. They’re collecting dust. I need to do better about sharing.
Finish this sentence: Success and happiness __________.
Are what I want but I’m so afraid to actually have.
What was your gateway romance novel?
I don’t remember the very first one, but the first one to leave an impact is Sandra Kitt’s The Color of Love. I still go back to that novel.
Say you’re selected to compete on Jeopardy. Who are your opponents?
Jon Snow because he knows nothing and Jeff Sessions because he recalls nothing.
This is a morbid question, but I think it gives a great deal of insight into someone’s personality. At your memorial service, what song do you want to be played?
“Psalm 23” as sung by the Kuumba Singers of Harvard College (if you squint on the right, you can see me singing).
What’s the last book you borrowed from the library?
An Extraordinary Union by Alyssa Cole. Still going through it. Still in my feels.
What’s a current cultural phenomenon you want nothing to do with?
#MAGA. It’s not about progress; it’s about reverting the country back to the time where nobody but propertied white men had a say in how the government and the society are run.
What’s one piece of writing advice that has always stuck with you?
“If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.” –Toni Morrison
Name three romance novels you think everyone should read right now.
Indigo by Beverly Jenkins; Romancing the Duke by Tessa Dare; Glutton for Pleasure by Alisha Rai.
Ever tried BDSM? If not, would you?
Savannah J. Frierson realized writing was her calling her junior year of high school. She completed her first original work, Reconstructing Jada Channing, as her senior thesis at Harvard University, earning the 2005 Dorothy Hicks Lee Prize for most outstanding thesis concerning African or African-American literature. In 2007, Savannah released her first novel, Being Plumville, which earned Savannah SORMAG Readers’ Choice Awards in 2007 and an Emma Award nomination for Debut Author of the Year at the 2008 Romance Slam Jam Conference. She has also spoken at several book fairs, including the South Carolina Book Festival, Capital Bookfest in Charleston, South Carolina, book clubs, radio shows, and classes about her work.
Savannah is dedicated to social justice issues, especially those concerning Black womyn. She is dedicated to ensuring representations of Black womyn are as full of breadth, life, and vitality as they exist in the world.
For more information, please visit www.sjfbooks.com.
SJF Books Website | SJF Books Facebook | SJF Books Twitter
Activate your one-click finger! Savannah’s latest release is The Sight: City of Sin, the eleventh book in the City of Sin Collection.
I know, I know. I was supposed to resume blog posts after NaNoWriMo, but I decided to take the rest of the year off and concentrate on fiction writing. It was a good decision. #noregrets
We’ll resume our regularly scheduled programming on Monday, January 8th.
*whistles* Folks, 2017 was a heck of a year.
Depressing is an accurate description. The first few months of the year was me trying not to keel over from an aneurysm after reading the daily news about shit-show that is the White House administration. I’m sure a lot of people found themselves in a similar posture. I wasn’t writing. I had no desire to write. An overwhelming feeling of despair overshadowed everything. I was angry and frustrated. Some peace came when I found a couple of Facebook groups full of romance writers and readers who felt as I did. Chatting with them and venting made things slightly better for me. Comradery in those groups, along with Twitter, helped me make it through a super rough part of the year. Shout-out to romance readers, writers, and bloggers in the Resistance!
Officially, my groove came back when I attended RT in May. Romantic Times was my first major book event and signing, and it was also the spark that set my writer soul on fire. Never in a million years did I anticipate readers seeking me out to say they’d read and loved my work. *in my Keanu Reeves voice* Whoa.
After RT, the flames kept burning. I attended my first RWA conference. Then, in September, I attended the Brooklyn Book Festival and the Baltimore Book Festival. I was on a roll. Gooo meeee!
But allow me to get a little more personal and tell you how 2017 changed my perspective as an author and how these changes have guided my career moving forward. Let’s begin with…
The One Thing No One Likes to Talk About: Money
Ready for some blatant honesty? I’m not making any money, meaning I’m not bringing in stellar bucks. SHOCKING, RIGHT? Not really. I’ve only published five stories: three short stories, one novella, and one novel. I have a long way to go before writing can be a sustainable full-time career, but guess what?
I mentioned the dreaded M word.
At this stage of my career, I spend more money than I take in. For now, I’m fine with that because I’m building an empire. #bossladygoals I’m more than certain things will change in the next two-to-three years. My number one goal has always been to make back the money I’ve spent on covers and editing. That’s it. Not everyone shares the same mindset as me, and that’s okay. There are some authors who want to see an ROI immediately. We are all on different paths. There is no absolute right or wrong way to guide your writing career. Okay, there is a wrong way (not researching the market properly, not caring about your product enough to make it shine, spamming any and everyone all day every day with your book promotion, being a dick to readers and authors, etc.), but I think you know where I’m going with this. We do what works best for us at that moment.
Money doesn’t guide my writing decisions. I write the types of stories that excite me, and I self-publish. If something I write is considered “a flop” I don’t see it as a failure. Even in failure, there are lessons to be learned. With each release, I’ve learned something about myself as an entrepreneur, and those lessons guide me daily.
Spending some serious ching in 2017 led to a lot of wonderful experiences, and I know for certain it was a worthwhile investment. I’m investing in myself and my business, and I believe my investments have enabled me to network and connect with individuals I wouldn’t have had access to in the beginning of my career.
I’m inching forward and setting myself on a path of greatness, and holy crap is it exciting!
Keep it Real
In 2017, aside from spending $$$, I also took more chances. To some degree, I stopped giving a fuck, and boy was it freeing. As an author—let me rephrase—as a black romance author, I have always been very cognizant of my image and branding. I want to be perceived a certain way. While my marketing has enabled me to build a small following of readers who enjoy what I write, I also realize that it doesn’t matter if I’m the best marketer or the best writer in the world, there will be individuals who will never choose to read my work. My type of romance will not be everyone’s jam, and that’s perfectly okay.
Instead of trying to win everyone over, I’ve chosen to cultivate an intimate relationship with readers who are eager to expand their romance-reading horizons. They want to see more PoC in stories. They want to see more LGBTQIA+ people in stories. They want to read about non-Christian characters. They want to read about heroines, heroes, and non-binary folks who are coping with mental illness. Good lord, there’s a demand for stories featuring REAL humans dealing with REAL issues! LOL, insane, right? When I craft my romances, I’ve always written with realism in mind. I know there is an audience for my material, and I want to keep that audience coming back for more. It’s one of the reasons I’ve started writing short stories exclusively for my newsletter subscribers as a way to thank them for joining me on this journey.
Email addresses are gold, and if someone is willing to give you access to their inbox, you’d better do your best to keep em satisfied.
After three years in publishing, a lightbulb finally came on— I think the 2016 election had a lot to do with my awakening— I always want to see the best in people. I want to be positive and spread love and cheer, but I also believe in putting in the work. I recently read an article that said to pay attention, not only to the words people say and their actions but whether or not they’re consistent in their speech and their actions. In 2017, I chose to focus on being consistent with my intentions and surrounding myself with other author folk who abide by the same rules. I finally got a handle on my tribe. In 2016, I was building it little by little, but now I have a solid foundation of author friends.
Making friends as an adult is hard. Making friends as an author is like pulling teeth. There are people who are friendly and outgoing and want to befriend everyone. *raises hand* Then there are people who aren’t very trusting because they’ve been burned. *raises hand again* If I let the people who’ve burned me keep me away from seeking out new friends, I’d be doing this writing thing alone.
No one can survive alone. No one. Working solo in a bubble can only take you so far. We all need the assistance of others in some form. Authors need other authors in order to succeed. Individual efforts matter, but collaborative efforts also go a long way toward success. Many authors helped me in 2017, and I am so incredibly grateful to each and every one of them and their unique assistance. Because of them, I’m more productive than I’ve ever been, and I have a clear vision of my career trajectory.
2017 has changed my mindset.
Spending money is a necessary evil. I no longer hem and haw when I have to shell out $$$ to ensure I’m making the right moves as an entrepreneur.
Not giving a fuck is freeing. I’ve lost some readers, and I’ve gained some readers. I’ve been unfriended, unfollowed, blocked; you name it. I will not be everyone’s cup of tea, and that is A-okay. Being my authentic self is all that matters in the end. Well, that and writing a quality story. LOL. I don’t want to be an authentic person who writes crap. I’m always trying to hone my craft!
Being consistent with your intentions garners support in ways that may surprise you. Never be afraid to ask questions. Never be afraid to ask for help. Never be afraid to tell people they inspire you. Do not be afraid to put yourself out there. Everyone will not love you. Everyone will not like you. But it’s important to have people within the writing community who have your back. Writing is a solitary gig, so find people who get you and want to help you succeed. Like any other community, the romance writing community has its ups and downs. The ride has a tendency to get a little bumpy, so strap in tight and make sure you’re seated next to people who are ready to hold your hand through it all.
In a very odd way, the horrible beginning of the year helped me to round out the year on a good note. I may not be able to control what happens in the White House or in our nation, but I chose to focus on things I can control, and it’s been the most therapeutic form of self-care ever.
2018 has already kicked off in stellar fashion. Here’s hoping the rest of the year brings forth many more opportunities for prosperity!