Saturday, July 5, 2014

Black and Brown Planets ... Cimmerian City

If anyone has a Netgalley account and visit it frequently, there is a new title up called Black and Brown Planets: The Politics of Race in Science Fiction. The blurb is below. If anyone is going to request it, and if they read it, please let me know. I'd love to repost your reviews on this blog. #weneeddiversebooks


Literary explorations into the radical, hopeful racial futures imagined by science fiction

Essays by Marleen S. Barr, Gerry Canavan, Grace L. Dillon, M. Elizabeth Ginway, Matthew Goodwin, Edward James, De Witt Douglas Kilgore, Malisa Kurtz, Robin Anne Reid, Lysa M. Rivera, Patrick B. Sharp, and Lisa Yaszek

Black and Brown Planets embarks on a timely exploration of the American obsession with color in its look at the sometimes contrary intersections of politics and race in science fiction. The contributors, including De Witt D. Kilgore, Edward James, Lisa Yaszek, and Marleen S. Barr, among others, explore science fiction worlds of possibility (literature, television, and film), lifting blacks, Latin Americans, and indigenous peoples out from the background of this historically white genre.

This collection considers the role of race and ethnicity in our visions of the future. The first section emphasizes the political elements of black identity portrayed in science fiction from black America to the vast reaches of interstellar space framed by racial history. In the next section, analysis of indigenous science fiction addresses the effects of colonization, helps discard the emotional and psychological baggage carried from its impact, and recovers ancestral traditions in order to adapt in a post-Native-apocalyptic world. Likewise, this section explores the affinity between science fiction and subjectivity in Latin American cultures from the role of science and industrialization to the effects of being in and moving between two cultures. By infusing more color in this otherwise monochrome genre, Black and Brown Planets imagines alternate racial galaxies with viable political futures in which people of color determine human destiny.

Isiah Lavender III, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, is an assistant professor of English at Louisiana State University. He is the author of Race in American Science Fiction.


Find this on Netgalley.


Cimmerian City is on Netgalley as well. I've read, reviewed, and loved it. I'm still waiting on book 2, Rae!

Stripped from the headlines of today's news, Cimmerian City is a novel spanning 15 years.

Greed can turn a good man’s heart to stone. This is especially true in the age of commerce and large corporations. No new pill can be taken without a laundry list of side effects that the patient may have to endure. But what if the side effects are more dangerous than the pills are helpful? What if the side effect causes the patient to be immune from standard dangers, such as firearms, the climate, etc., but causes them to change into otherworldly beings?

It is seen through the eyes of a young woman named Raven Blackheart. It is a future where corporations rule the world and political parties have been dismissed. An Earth that is recovering from a global war that has divided two races: Humans and Dracins, quick, tough skinned creatures that are children of the side effects from 20th century pharmaceuticals. Raven awakens in this world as a product of both races and nurtured by the vice president of the main corporation in the world as a symbol of the union of races. With her help, Vice President Tyler Deamond’s corporation can take both beings off Earth--quickly becoming a waste planet--and to a new terraformed planet. But as Raven learns, nothing is as it seems, especially concerning humans.

Link to my post
Find this on Netgalley
Purchase on Amazon for $0.99

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Better Serving the Author

Jen Greyson lit a fire under me. I really don't think she knows what she's done. If you read the previous post containing emails we sent each other, it really got me thinking. How can I, as a blogger, further help out the authors that want more push for their books? What can I do? I've been posing the question in quite a few places and haven't gotten many responses yet. So far, I got one from RA White, author of Kergulen.

"Another thing might be linking to writers' blog posts if you like them, or asking them to write something for your blog. Or asking if you can use something they already wrote on your blog. Just some ideas."

These are all fantastic ideas that I plan on implementing immediately. I'm hoping to make this blog more well-rounded and add an author focus to my review focus. I will also attempt to find AA and IR Paranormals that are $.99 and cheaper, and link them here, as well as author information.

Authors! If you want to guest post, promo or anything at all, don't hesitate to let me know. Just please make sure your book has a non-caucasian lead OR at least one other major character (with a storyline) that is non-caucasian.

Let's get the word out, people.

If you're interested in finding out more about Kergulen or R.A. White, click the links below.

or Visit R.A. White's website.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Talking with Jen Greyson about Alterations ...

I got a little confused.

Everyone has a set of authors they stalk for new books and series updates and such. A couple of people had asked for suggestions for Paranormals with a MC that was Latina. I was all too excited to bring this up because it's amazing. So I decided to go do an update stalk. One of the main authors I stalk is Jen Greyson, author of the Alterations Series. I sang praises to her and both books in general because they're just good. They have great stories with a good concept. I love the writing and how engaged I am with our lead, Evy, who is Latina. But when I went to stalk Jen about book 3, I saw the cover on the right.

I almost lost my mind.

We went from what's on the left, to what's on the right. Not only had the cover changed, but the title had changed, and even the blurb had changed. Not to mention the blurb, even though the story itself doesn't change, the blurb makes it seem more male-focused. Like Constantine is the lead.

I lost my mind.

I actually got angry.

So I sent Jen an email and this is how it went ...


From Me:
Hey there! I just wanted to ask about the re-release of your series. Or is it a re-release? I've noticed the name of the book has changed as well as Evy isn't the selling point anymore, Constantine is? What happened? I'd recently recommended this series to someone who was looking for a latina MC and she asked me about this. I wanted to know what to tell her anyone else who may have a question.

From Jen:
I'm really interested in your feedback on this and I'm so glad you asked.

It is a re-release, but the ONLY thing I changed were the covers and the blurb. The entire story is still the same.

As to why, I don't know that I have a great answer. The covers were fantastic, but they weren't drawing readers in and NA seems to be so male-focused (cover-wise), which leaves Evy and her story as an outlier, even though Constantine is a big catalyst to her growth.

So, it was partially a marketing decision, partially a business decision, and I'm trying not to be an emotional artist about it -- even though I tend to default to wearing that hat :) At the end of the day, I just want to share Evy's journey with as many readers as possible, and it's tough to do in the flooded market (which is what makes amazing bloggers like you who spread the word so precious!)

Like I said, very interested in your feedback.


From Me:
I have to admit that it kind of upset me. I actually wasn't a fan of the original cover art but I thought it told the story of Evy a lot better. I do, however, see what you mean on the covers being male focused, but I haven't heard of it really hindering anyone before. I just felt like, 'I'm here for Evy. I like Constantine a lot but I'm here for Evy and this isn't a direction I would go with it.' I think I'm just so attached to the fact that this book is lead by a Latina, that Constantine being on the cover threw me for a loop.

I'm sure you heard about #weneediversebooks. With the diversity lacking, Evy being on the cover and the story being about her was something I really felt. I feel like it's gone now and it's just kind of in the pile with every other book that's about a caucasian lead. I'm not knocking your decision, I completely get it. I was just so taken aback by the cover change AND the blurb change that I got worried for Evy in book 3. Almost wondering if she wasnt going to be a lead anymore, but a supporting character to Constantine's lead.

I will relay your message to those who asked, and thanks for getting back to me. I'm looking forward to book 3.

From Jen:
I'm really glad you asked, and thank you for your feedback. I get it, I totally do, because it was honestly a huge struggle to make the decision. On one hand, I want to be about the story, but I have so many mentors telling me that I have to treat this like a business too.... and I hate how that sounds because it makes it sound like I'm in this to make a buck, and yes, part of me wants to make a living at this, because... house payment, but I've been so true to this story, and to Evy's journey--until the cover change. Evy is an insanely powerful heroine... who never needed a man -- and now that we're talking about it, she probably doesn't need one to help her get the word out about her books either, LOL.

I just got an entire box of the print books to take with me to a signing in Vegas -- I'd been really reserved about changing out those covers, and seeing them in print again, is making me second-guess the decision. It's hard to be an outlier, especially when the books are flagging and I really want to see them succeed BECAUSE we DO need diverse books. So badly.

And yeah, you're right about her no longer being the stand out cover anymore -- these covers make her look like she's hiding behind a man in a male-dominated group of covers.

Things for me to think about and ponder....

As for book 3, Evy will always be the lead. Tiana has a massive role to play now too, but I'm tossing around letting her have her own YA series as a spinoff so that Evy's journey stands on it's own without watering it down with another female lead. There's still so much story to tell.

I really really really appreciate your query, and most of all, for being honest with your feedback. Please feel free to post it on the blog -- I'd love to see this turn into a conversation about author decisions and how they affect readers ;)


From Me:
Thanks so much. I do, absolutely, understand your reasoning and even your fears. I really hope things work out well with the new switch. I'd love for you to succeed with this series and as a writer in general. I love your work and will continue to support you!


I honestly feel that way but man ... I am still bummed.