Today, our little Tierra came into our bedroom and crawled between us in the dark. “Mommy, Daddy, wake up,” she said, voice all sweet and innocent. We turned to find her shaking. Both of us shot up. Shag turned on the light and checked her forehead; I pulled out the thermometer. She announced. “I threw up. I think I have a bug.”
We both jumped to action. Ginger Ale. Crackers. Meds. Cold Towel. We were hopping like beans. Both of us discussed who should take off work while Shag rocked her in his arms. And in the middle of all of this, it comes to me that Tierra is eight years old and extremely tall. LOL. Why is he still rocking her like when she was five? Never mind, I can’t bring up how he spoils her at this moment. We need to get her better.
Long story short. There is a bug running around rampant and it’s loose in our hose. Our little princess has it. And the normal running order is Shag, me and finally Jordan.
Meanwhile, after hearing that she has a bug, Jordan covers his face like Michael Jackson and bolts out of the house for the bus ten minutes early. I shake my head. That’s the only time I can ever get that boy out of the house without pushing him.
I was out the other night having drinks with friends and we started down the rabbit hole of what led us to our professions. This of course created buzz around our table and other people quickly pulled from their own tables and joined us. I was three glasses of wine into the conversation when someone asked me a very serious question.
“Why did you choose to write Interracial Romance, specifically bwwm?”
I’ve been asked this before, but the person who asked seemed to be the type that would not take a flippant or even cosmetic answer. They wanted details; they wanted to decide what side of the proverbial black aisle I sat on. Was I a blind assimilator or was I truly making conscious decisions?
Anyone in an interracial relationship, who has interracial children, has a friend from another race knows what I speak of. And I won’t delve too far into that because it’s the subject of a book that I’m writing and I want your responses later. And it would be awesome to also talk abut this great show, Black-ish, that also hits some damn good points about the contemporary African-American experience.
So back to the question…
I cannot lie. I drank the last of my wine before answering. After all, I did not know this person and this could easily go out in left field and with it my growing buzz.
“I’m tired of stereotypes,” I said honestly, when I was done with my Chardonnay.
The raised brow of the individual let me know that they understood what I was saying even if I hadn’t elaborated.
Black women aren’t all money-hungry, poor, uneducated, angry, vengeful, loud and obnoxious as many books would have us portrayed. In fact, we’re quite brilliant.
White men aren’t all rich, powerful, famous, gentle, courageous and classy (with a wink) as books would have them portrayed.
Each person is completely unique and there should be a story for each of us. Now, that’s not going to happen, but it’s great to have a rainbow of stories about bwwm relationships that kill the stereotypes and create new discussion. We deserve that. We deserve to not fit into anyone’s box, not be forced to look a certain way, feel a certain way or be accepted only if we come from a certain background. We need stories that tell a different story, that empower us and that flatter us and that just put us on an equal playing field.
But I’m just one woman with one computer. So tell me WORLD, what do you think?
Chapter Three of The Grunt 2 takes you inside a covert USMC Force Recon operation in Afghanistan. From the first word of the chapter, you are there with the six-man team as they leap bravely from an HH-60 Pave Hawk during a HALO (high altitude, low opening)jump. As a civilian, I have never jumped out of a plane, though I’ve wanted to. I have a fascination with the sky and the bird’s ability to soar through the air. I’ve even had dreams of flying in my sleep, which usually leads to me accidentally kicking Shag. But I’ve never, as a core function of my job, been asked to jump from a moving object into the sky and fall thousands of feet (strategically might I ad) to land on the ground without a scratch. It’s pretty epic stuff.
As it turns out Force Recon is spectacular at jumping out of planes. And I could not, in good conscience, write this book without including a little of Recon’s awesomeness in it.
Dressed out in full tactical uniforms, camouflage, aviator gloves, go-packs and parachutes the Recon Unit assembled quietly inside of the HH-60 Pave Hawk in preparation for their HALO (high-altitude, low-opening) parachute insertion jump. It was everything that kids across the country dreamt of as they played their video games, and everything wannabe’s lied about when trying to impress women.
However, this was the real shit; there were no video cameras for reality tv, no theme music for a movie, no turning back for sake of life over country.
Standing by the hatch already let down for their departure, Brett looked down the line at his men standing at the ready. Each one of these men were brave and had shown valor in the face of death a hundred times. Joe, Bear, Rusty, Geek and Hound. He would die for either of them, all of them, if needed. But he hoped that their training would prevent the need to make that decision.
Right before they reached their mark, Brett stepped out where he could see his men and made his normal speech. It was the same one every time, but each time it was warranted, needed to remind each man of why he was there, especially when after long months away from home there were more questions than answers.
“No one on this plane rang that bell three times in training. No one gave up then. No gives up now. You know why they sent us, devil dogs? It’s because we’re the baddest motherfuckers they could find.”
“Oorah,” the men replied in cadence. Their voices boomed like lightning against the black night as the wind from the open hatch ran across their faces.
Bear, their Irish ginger good ole boy from Alabama, spit his brown snuff out on the floor beside his boot and coughed. It was his normal routine and had not changed since their first op together. It was Bear’s way of saying that he was ready.
Joe made the sign of the cross and rolled his neck. He was ready.
Rusty kissed the picture of his son.
Hound scratched his balls.
Geek stood stoically focused on the hatch.
Each man had a thing, and now was the time to do it.
Brett’s jaw clenched as he moved to the open hatch, the wind pushing and pulling at him like a rag doll. Anticipation coursed through his veins like an angry drug. The veins in his neck protruded as he screamed, “Let’s go to work!”
The twinkling stars and the full moon in the sky looked close enough for the men to reach out and touch them, and the ground so infinite below looked like it was a million miles away while they dwelled somewhere in the middle of this world and the next.
If one had never thought about their mortality before, they thought about it then being as small as ants in a world so vast that it could suck them up before anyone could notice.
Brett stood by the hatch, hitting each man on his back as they plunged out into the night in a free fall.
They looked angelic as they fell, but in fact, they were killers, the whole lot of them, going to do the government’s bidding.
With a nod toward the birdman, Brett prepared in his own way. Checking his gear and his watch, he clasped the sides of the entryway, looked out at the vast world behind him, imagined his family back home, and made the unreturnable leap toward danger.
With his arms splayed wide, he cut through the thin clouds in a perfect arch, feeling his body become one with the air around him. His massive, muscular frame, while formidable on land, dropped through the heavens like penny off a tower.
Balancing himself out, he fell hundreds of feet before he checked his wrist detector and pulled the rip cord on his parachute when he had reached the right altitude.
The parachute exploded violently in the night, giving him a small jolt as he navigated it down.
Brett bent his knees as his boots hit the ground. Dust billowed up around him as he crunched dry soil below him. Releasing himself from the parachute, he pulled his earpieces from inside of his tactical gear as he knelt in a crouched position and looked around.
It was dead silent. No motion. No lights. No people.
“Check in Eagle team,” he said, listening as all the men sounded off. They were all right around him, but with no light, they were nearly impossible to see, save the light coming off some of the men’s tactical watches.
As soon as his voice registered on the radio, the command center back at the base went live. Captain Lawless, who had been leaning on his desk glaring impatiently at the blank wall of monitors, popped up and put his coffee down.
“Eagle four to Nest, we are live. I repeat, Eagle team is live,” Brett said, just below a whisper as the men gathered together, ready to move on the Captain’s command.
“Do we have eyes on our men yet?” Lawless said, looking at his comms specialist.
Staring at the young captain too long was like looking directly into the sun. He was intimidating even when he wasn’t trying. The young man quickly adverted his eyes to the monitor as the black screen in front of them linked to the satellite and produced a night vision picture.
“We are live, sir,” the young man said, typing into his computer.
Lawless turned to his second-in-charge. “Get the general now,” he ordered, taking a wide stance in the middle of the floor and watching the operation from the vest cameras installed on each man. This was what he did best. In this command room, he was a warrior, a strategist and a swift hand for the U. S. Marine Corps. The sudden pride that always overcame him made him want to sing God Bless America, but for now, he’d just settle for kicking some ass.
“Zoom into Eagle four,” Lawless said flatly. He slipped his earpiece on to communicate with the team. “Eagle four, we have eyes. Satellite says you’re good to go. No bogies. Proceed.”
“Copy that,” Brett said, making a knife hand motion for the men to advance toward the house.
Don’t worry. The book is coming soon. Check in regularly for more information on the chapters as they are completed.
Because of the support and love of my mentors, I’ve met many great civil rights leaders in my time. I had the honor of having Dr. Benjamin Hooks as a personal mentor along with Mrs. Francis, who gave me invaluable advise as a young woman that I still hold dear today. Dr. Hooks used to love my granddaddy’s fried fish, and grandpa didn’t mind having me come to South Memphis to pick up some as soon as he fried it and deliver it to Dr. Hooks. I remember Dr. Vasco Smith with his jovial smile and Mrs. Maxine Smith always willing to give me a hug. I remember D’Army Bailey sitting across from me at Four Way Grill, and me praying in the middle of his very enlightening talk – that I didn’t drop fried tomatoes all over my Chanel white blouse and make a mockery of myself. I remember working for the National Civil Rights Museum and President Mandela coming up the stairs at the Peabody and me rushing out to see if he was on his way and running nearly head on into him. All I could say was, “your President Mandela.” And he said, “yes dear but who are you?” I couldn’t speak after that.
Recently, I met the founder of Black Enterprise, Mr. Earl Graves. We walked and talked for a while. He was impressed by my little publishing house, and insisted that I had promise. I was in shock how much he reminded me of my grandpa and instantly felt a connection. Mary Robinson, the first female president of Ireland, was also very kind. She and I walked through Bountiful Blessings after she was caught up on a call with UN. She told me I simply had to visit Ireland. After meeting her, I knew that I had to as well.
My list is long and distinguished. I’ve met so many, and I remember them all. I either met them because of LeMoyne-Owen College, Howard and Beverly Robertson or Deidre Malone. My mentors pushed me…always pushed me…still push me. Since I was a skinny 18-year old girl, they have opened doors for me that would have remained closed otherwise. They have introduced me to giants because they were giants themselves.
I still remember meeting Mr. Julian Bond. The first time was at the National Civil Rights Museum when I was around 20. Then, I was heading up credentialing for the NAACP 2009 National Conference in Cincinnati and we were preparing for the Obama/McCain speeches and Mr. Bond came around the office. He wanted to see what we were up to. We had been working early mornings and late nights. Deidre thought it was good for both Tonya and I to do this on our own. She was training us. She was right. It was great work, hard work, great experience.
Tonya and I wanted pictures. Mr. Bond was busy, terribly busy. But he didn’t mind stopping long enough for us to talk. He wanted to know how we were enjoying ourselves and if we were working too hard. He had time enough to listen to me recount my experience with him in Memphis. He smiled and listened and three days later when he saw me again, he said, “hello Latrivia.” Thousands of people, thousands of stories and he never forgot my name.
When I came home from Cincinnati, my life was changed. Deidre just laughed. “It’s good for you,” she said. She still is always grooming me, even until this day. She had met him many times before and knew how great he was, but I was on fire and brand new to such a movement.
For the very young people (and I have many who read my books and my blog and I know they are under 18 – naughty teens), I want you to know why this man was so important.
Julian Bond was no rapper, baller or actor. He was an activist, a game-changer. Horace Julian Bond was an American social activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement, politician, professor, and writer.
Born in Nashville, TN on January 14, 1940 – only 200 miles from Memphis- Julian Bond became a civil rights activist while in college. In 1965, he was elected to Georgia’s state legislature, but his opposition to the war in Vietnam meant that it would take a U.S. Supreme Court ruling for him to be allowed to take his seat. Bond later served as the head of the Southern Poverty Law Center and of the NAACP.
When you read a book, you want to identify with the woman. When you read an Interracial Romance (bw/wm), you expect to identify. All of us can’t be supermodels, millionaires or even a size 2 (I like being curvaceous), but we can all see the strength of a character or be motivated by that strength in a book.
My readers have taught me through their feedback over the years that they demand strength. When I first wrote Ivy’s Twisted Vine, a part of exploring what it was like to be an impressionable young woman was writing about Ivy’s weaknesses, but The World in Reverse was clearly about her strengths.
I’m committed to showing African-American women in a strong positive light through my books. Strong heroines are not just wanted, in this day and age, they are needed. Even in our entertainment and imagination, we must visualize ourselves as pillars of strength. Now, does that mean that you can’t be loving, caring, warm and even have moments of weakness? No, that would you inhuman.
However, I will say that if we are to project an image of strength into the media, we have to start in books. We have to damage/destroy the negative stereotypes of African-American women by re-writing ourselves.
This last week has been absolutely amazing. I got married, moved into a new house, registered the kids and returned to work…didn’t even break a sweat (who am I kidding, I lost three pounds).
Now that I’m back, it’s time to get to the business of presenting you with a completely new brand. New books. New fun art work. Fun facts. Awesome Q&A and so much more.
The Latrivia Welch brand is an extension of the Latrivia Nelson brand, because it’s me. However, it’s my job to bring you in my world of awesome alpha males and strong powerful black women through innovative, creative and continuous impressions…or at least that’s what my team tells me.
Interracial Romance Author Latrivia Welch
Right now, I have one goal. I am going to finish The Grunt 2. I’ve been up in my new office in my new house writing up a storm and researching. And it’s my hope to bring you a story that you can love as much as you love The Grunt. I will say that this experience back into my old book has made me fall in love with Brett & Courtney all over again.
I’m also very proud to announce to launch of my new website. http://www.latriviawelch.com. By month’s end, the old site, http://www.latrivianelson.info will be no more. We’re moving on in life and moving on in our journey together to make magic in these pages. Please go to the site, sign up for the newsletter, vote for me for 2014 Interracial Romance Series (Vasily’s Revenge), http://www.poll-maker.com/poll376605xcFdf692b-14?s=res check out all the news and give me your feedback. I developed the site just for you to host all things around our favorite characters. So, I hope you like it.
Latrivia Nelson makes the USA Today Best Selling Books List
“Despise not small beginnings.” Zechariah 4:10
This morning at 6:30 a.m., Bruce pulled me out of bed. “Baby, get up. It’s time to go and work out.” His words echoed in my subconscious, swirling in the opposition of the act.
This idea, to get fit “er” sounded great when he first suggested it, but at the moment, all I wanted to do was hug that pillow and his muscular chest a little longer before I crawled out of bed and got ready for work.
He nudged me again, his sexy southern drawl sounding like silk to my ears. “Come on, baby. You can do it.”
Ever so gently, he pulled the covers from my body and pulled me out of bed. I complained the entire time, but with every complaint put on my clothes, shoes and grabbed some water before we headed out.
By the time when arrived back at the house from the work out, I was laughing and bubbly. Working out does that to you. Endorphins were running rampant. Motivated to start my day, I ran my bath water and then noticed I had several missed calls on my cell phone. Accidentally, I had left it on silent yesterday.
They were from all around the country.
Something was up, and suddenly I was afraid…that was until I saw the text from sister author Yvette Hines. “WE MADE IT TO THE USA TODAY LIST!” I could hear her voice through the text.
I screamed, and jumped and yelled. Bruce by this time wasn’t sure to grab his shot gun or jump and scream with me. I put the phone down and told him. I was now a USA Today Bestselling Author.
TEARS. Happy, big fat tears of joy.
Something like this is the thing that an author dreams of achieving. It’s not a small task and takes a lot of work, and a lot of people believing in you. 11 women come to mind. I have to thank God for the ability to write. His blessings continue to shine down on me. He is my refuge and no, I do not want. He meets all of my needs and very often, He goes above and beyond. Today was another one of his many gifts. Thank you, Father.
This project was Yvette’s baby. She led the charge, and the other 10 women in the box set were absolutely wonderful. Despite everything that happened in their personal lives, they were devoted to this project. They were kind and thoughtful, worked together, allowed for life to happen in between. And it paid off.
Our fans are amazing women and men. They follow us on Twitter and Facebook. They post reviews. They uplift us and continue to be supportive. This could not have happened without each and every one of them. They bought and pre-ordered. They posted and reposted. They came out in big numbers.
There are so many books out there now in the bw/wm genre. When you have someone who will give you a chance, you are grateful. You are competing with a world full of insanely talented authors for every book sell.
I’ve been in this business now for seven years. I’ve written countless books, and every single experience is still a new one. I remember selling my first book back in 2008. I remember wanting to be on this list. And now I am. It started small, but it has grown…this book dream. I never gave up. I never gave in to just putting it aside. And HE blessed me for it. I’m not deserving. I know it. But He does that anyway because He loves me. I will not despise small beginnings.
I’m celebrating today. I’m happy, and I’m thankful.