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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

What Color is Your Love?

I remember when I first started reading romance novels back in 8th grade. I’d tell you how long ago that was, but let’s just say dinosaurs were still roaming Earth. The covers of these books usually featured a blond-haired, blue-eyed heroine and a dark-haired, flinty-eyed hero who was generally much older than his ingĂ©nue love. Was it a reflection of real-life? I seriously doubt it was an accurate picture even way back then of their appearance or their ages.
Now is the point where I should step up on a politically correct soapbox to say race shouldn’t be a factor when it comes to romance writing. Maybe it shouldn’t be, but it is. Just yesterday, I was having a conversation with a highly-educated professional woman who happens to be single and African-American. I mention her race because it plays a role in our conversation. She was bemoaning the fact that it was difficult to find her male counterpart to date because a lot of them were dating white women.
That got me thinking. Was this actually true? I had to admit that when it came to interracial couples of my acquaintance, the preponderance were males of another race married to white females. According to research published in 2013 by the Pew Research Center, African-American men are twice as likely as African-American women to intermarry. Among Asians and Native Americans, the trend is just the opposite (Wang, 2015).
Now, I don’t want to go into a big dissertation on the trends in interracial couples and marriage. Let’s just say that you can check out US Census figures and the Pew research and find the following statistics: In 2013, more than one out of ten new marriages were among couples of differing races; nearly seven percent of all existing marriages were interracial.
So where is the diversity in romance? It’s coming. I’m not sure I would go so far as an article in TIME from May of 2014 which loudly proclaims in its headline: “Steamy Romance Novels Flush With Color,” and includes the subhead: “interracial relationships are a hot new trend in love lit.”(Sachs, 2014) However, I will say that the issue is coming out in the open for a lot more discussion. That happened at Romance Writers of America’s 2015 national convention. We’ve also had those discussions in my own RWA chapter.
I see women of color banding together to support one another’s careers. That’s fantastic. We should all be supportive of efforts to make our romance writing a truer reflection of love in all its many forms, no matter the race, gender, or number combinations.
Should the focus of interracial romance always be about race? First and foremost, they should be about love, about two people who are right for each other because they like and respect the other person. I do think we would be fooling ourselves, though, if we say it’s a non-issue.
I live and teach in an area that is split roughly down the middle between African-Americans and Caucasians. Just as my colleague’s concern about the number of black men dating white women came out in conversation, so have I heard people—both black and white—express concerns about interracial relationships. Prejudice is still out there. Personally, I prefer to address things head on rather than pretending it doesn’t exist. I’ve never been a proponent of what I call the “emperor’s new clothes” philosophy.
So, when you read the second novella in my series “Teacher’s Pets,” I don’t steer away from the fact that Ben’s a really hot white guy dating a really hot black woman, but I don’t feel I’ve made it the central conflict either. (Perfect Harmonie, Teacher's Pet #2, coming May 25!)
And I have to say to my sister of another mother…thanks for giving me the idea when you said, “Hey, put me in one of your books.”

Sachs, Andrea. (2014). “Steamy Romance Novels Flush With Color”. TIME. Retrieved from:

Wang, Wendy. (2015). “Interracial Marriage: Who is ‘marrying out’?”. Pew Research Center. Retrieved From:

Friday, April 15, 2016

Ask The Experts

Come close, I have a secret to tell you. It wasn’t Al Gore who invented the Internet, but I know who it was. Teenagers. Just ask them.

In my non-writer life, I teach high school. I have learned several important things while teaching. First—teenagers know everything (this probably won’t surprise anyone who has a) been a teenager or b) parented a teenager) , second—teenagers believe teachers can’t hear, so they will talk about anything in front of them, third—it’s highly entertaining to keep your mouth shut and listen to the massive amounts of misinformation they spit out and swallow.

I have also become fairly unshockable. I might have already been that way since I write erotic romance, but I guess that’s up for debate. That fake news story about the guy who stuck the canned cinnamon rolls up his… well let’s just say I bought it for about ten seconds, so I guess that still makes me somewhat vulnerable to surprise. I mention this because the topics of conversations among teens have changed a bit since I was at that all-knowing, omnipotent age.

My friends and I talked about things like what might happen after a nuclear war, the meaning of life, and some things all teens still discuss—who was having a party and when, and who had ____________ (fill in the blank with beer, pot, etc.). We talked about going to college and what we wanted to do with our lives.

Here’s the conversation I stopped in the middle of a computer-based class I facilitate during what would be my planning period:

“When you get the harness, I can show you how to put it on right, cuz if you ain’t got it on right it ain’t  gonna work.”

“Some boys let you do it.”

Yeah, you’re right. They’re talking about strap-ons and butt sex. So I say…

“Y’all need to change your topic of conversation right now. We’ve had this discussion before about what is and is not appropriate to talk about at school.”

Eyes pop wide open. Everyone stares at me.

“You know what we’re talking about?”

I smile when what I really want to do is laugh my butt off. “I know this might come as a surprise to you, but you did not invent sex. And again, discussing strap-ons and harnesses in class is not appropriate. Change the topic.”

So, at this point, I’m sure there are some out there saying that was all you did? Well, let me ask you something—would you smack your puppy for messing on the floor before it knew better? I’m house training because—you guessed it—someone hasn’t already done that with these students. That’s part of the reason many of them end up in alternative ed.

However, I have to think they’re not totally different from many teens these days. However crude their conversations might be, they also—I’m forced to admit—have something in common with the teenagers of my time.

They know it all. They have it licked. The world is theirs.

So my amusement is also tempered with nostalgia. That’s what we were all like before we actually had to start living life. Imagine if we could hang onto some of that boundless arrogance and optimism.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

New Indie Series

I'm so excited about the launch of my new series: Teacher's Pets. The series examines the lives and loves of six women who work and teach at the fictional Harbrace Middle School. Some will find love singly...some with more than one man...but all of them will find their own HEA.
The First book in the series, Hardwired, just released a week ago. I have included the blurb, an excerpt, and buy links for you. Enjoy!

   It was only supposed to be kinky sex with no strings attached. Then Carly discovers her one night stand from a computer conference is none other than the new principal at the school where she works. Nat’s trying to get the new school year off to a good start, but his concentration’s blown when he discovers the cute little butt sticking out from beneath his desk belongs to the hottest woman he’s ever taken to bed. 
Neither one of them can forget the night they spent together or the friend who showed them that three isn’t a crowd.
Just as Carly and Nat ready to make the leap from recreation to relationship, her past may put them both in danger.

Get ready for some hot sex with a little m/m action too. 
Chapter 1
U need sex.
Well, duh. Who didn’t? Carly Greene stared at the text from Harmonie, hot history teacher extraordinaire and one of her besties. They’d talked about that very thing—both of them needing some hot, mindless sex—last week at Lucky’s when Carly and the rest of her teacher buds had gathered for drinks. Lately, it seemed the only sex Carly got was from Mr. Bunny, the battery-powered boyfriend in her nightstand. She wasn’t the only one either. Out of their whole group Eve was about the only one getting regular booty calls, and that was just because she was married to the way-too-sexy Tanner.
U gotta guy for me? Carly texted back and didn’t have to wait long for an answer.
Ur at a geek convention. They r all horny.
Carly had come to the bar after the rubber chicken conference dinner, hoping to relax a bit, but the crush of people and the crowded dance floor had just made her feel more isolated. She glanced along the length of the wooden bar and saw a guy standing at the corner. Now there was some eye candy. And he was staring back. At her.
U need sex.
Harmonie was right about that. Maybe what she really needed was a mind-blowing, no-holds-barred, no-strings fling with something tall, hot, and horny. Bonus that he didn’t look like the average computer geek.
Carly met Mr. Hottie’s smoldering gaze, picked up her beer bottle and took a long, slow sip, then caressed the length of the cold glass with her fingertips. She was being deliberately provocative. For once, she wanted simply to cut loose with no thought to the past or the future. Hopefully, he’d get the hint. His gaze shifted to her lips, lower to her tits, and back up again.
He smiled.
Oh yeah. He was definitely interested. Carly could already feel the moisture in her panties. The man was incredibly hot. Tall and lean, his broad shoulders were encased in a snug polo shirt. Those yummy shoulders tapered down to slender hips in form-fitting jeans. His dark hair, hard to tell what color in this light, was professionally cut. And when he smiled? Not only had he shown off straight, white teeth, but a great dimple in one cheek that suddenly made him look as human as he did perfect.
He picked up his beer and headed her way. The sex gods must be smiling.  The heat in Carly’s pussy went from zero to sixty in nothing flat. This was exactly what she needed, and if he turned out to have a voice like Mickey Mouse, there was always Mr. Bunny…or a gag.
* * * *
Nat Williams had signed up for the summer computer expo at the beach long before he’d transferred to his new job. He’d been tempted to cancel, but his new superintendent had urged him to go since he’d already paid for it. Not only was some of the newest technology on display, but vendors were demonstrating the latest educational software. Now, looking at the woman smiling at him from halfway down the bar, he was glad he’d listened.
Two more days of mind-numbing seminars and chicken dinners, and Nat feared he’d go insane. However, he was determined to liven things up a bit, and the woman sucking so seductively on that beer might be just the person to help him do it. He would enjoy the chance to get a little freaky  before he had to turn back into the epitome of stern and conservative. He’d definitely revisited some of his man-whore ways over the summer, but lately, none of those hook-ups had done it for him. Maybe this time would be different.
Watching her full lips on the beer bottle’s rim was already making his cock do a happy dance, and his brain play a movie of her mouth wrapped around his dick. The woman had a body made for sex, and that was exactly what he was looking to supply.
The spot next to her opened. Nat picked up his beer and slid in beside her, extending his hand. “Hi. I’m Nat.”
“Carly.” Her voice was throaty, sexy, and his cock stiffened a bit more. He was a sucker for voices. Always had been.
“You here for the conference?” he asked, hoping he got a yes in return. Conferences and conventions always seemed to have a free pass for sex tucked somewhere in the sign-in materials and promotional giveaways.
“Yes. You?”
He nodded. “Most of what I wanted to find out happened today, but I figured I’d stick around for a little while. What about you?”
“Someone from my office had to go,” Carly told him in that throaty, seductive voice of hers. “Since I was the newest, I got elected.”
The band came back on stage and began playing some classic dance tunes. Nat glanced at the musicians and the teeny tiny dance floor. His imagination immediately had her rubbing up against him in time with the music.
“Would you like to dance?” he asked.
Nat wasn’t a huge fan of dancing, but if it would get him close to Carly’s curvy body, he was more than ready. His cock jumped a bit more when her smile widened.
“I’d love to.”
He held out his hand and watched her slide off the stool. She wasn’t tall, about chin height, but boy was everything in just the right places. Her short, dark hair framed her pixie-like face in a halo of curls and made those blue eyes staring up at him seem even bigger than they were. Bedroom eyes that begged to be taken straight to the fun part. His cock throbbed.
How long had it been since he’d fucked anyone? Too long, if you asked his dick, but Nat would cure that particular problem in short order. At least, he hoped so.
The music switched to something slow and sexy as they stepped onto the postage stamp excuse of a dance floor. Nat grinned as he pulled the super sexy Carly up close. Molded chest to thighs, he felt every soft curve of her, just as he was sure she felt the part of him getting harder and bigger. When she didn’t back away from the contact, Nat let his hands glide from her waist to her butt. He really needed a chance to relax before he settled into his new job, and man, he hoped Carly was willing to play.
His balls tightened. Lord did she have a great ass. Round and tight, he could just imagine rubbing his dick up between those sweet cheeks, maybe even dipping in between.
Her arms wrapped behind his neck. “You feel amazing,” she whispered in that husky voice.
“So do you.” He squeezed her ass just a little, and she rubbed against his aching cock. “I may be shooting myself in the foot here,” he murmured, “but how about a walk on the beach?”
“Just a walk?” her question came out on a soft chuckle.
Nat rubbed one hand up and down her narrow back. “A walk, or whatever you want.”
“All right.”
His friend Ben now leaned against the bar as Nat followed Carly from the floor. Ben’s blond brows arched and his mouth quirked in amusement. Nat grinned back then shifted his gaze back to Carly, his eyes glued to the gentle sway of her hips in the swingy sundress she had on. He adjusted his dick into a more comfortable position, then while she gathered her phone and her purse, he paid for their beers and took her elbow. His cock was more than ready for the ending Nat hoped this night would have.

Read Hardwired Teacher's Pet, #1 by Sarina Wilde with Kobo. It was only supposed to be kinky sex with no strings attached. Then Carly discovers her one...
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