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.
Check out this rough draft excerpt:
The Grunt 2
Latrivia Nelson ©
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.
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.
For your viewing pleasure:-)
“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.
Ladies, we made it.
Latrivia S. Nelson
I’m guilty of changing my mind. After talking to the ladies in the Love Pub, I thought about it and decided that this cover would best serve Young Dmitry Medlov and not his nephew. Hope you like the changes. However, there is no release date yet. We’re just working along on as many projects as our brains will allow.