So, A Fool and His Manny got the RITA ™ nod–and I was unbelievably proud. But in the past two years we have become painfully aware that an entire group of writers has been grievously overlooked when it comes to this award and getting the recognition they deserve. I figured if anybody tuned in to see the big deal about The Mannies, I’d like to share some authors those new folks maybe haven’t seen. Actually, wait–at least one of them I know you’ve seen here, because she’s a friend and I’ve pimped her on the Flail more than once–maybe more than one of these folks but I can’t remember for sure. Many of these writers are a much bigger deal than I’ll ever be, so they really don’t need my notice–but I know them personally and I figured I’d brag about that too. (I’m shameless. I know it. Sorry.)
But these are authors who should be seen. These are amazing authors whose work should be acknowledged. And these authors are friends, many of whom have extended a kindness and a graciousness to my socially awkward person that never in a thousand years could I repay.
I just wanted the world to see them for the rockstars they are. I’d like for them to be acknowledged on the world stage, but right now, I just have my little blog.
Farrah Rochon– I first met Farrah Rochon at the 2015 RITA ceremony. We had both finaled that year, and we sat at the same table. Neither of us won–but I remember her being kind and funny. At the next year’s meeting, when she had cause to believe the worst in me, I spoke up at a seminar for writing disabled characters and she spoke to me afterwards. First, I think she complimented my dress (a compliment I treasure btw) and then she gave me the loveliest compliment about having spoken out. Her fiction is fearless and lovely and so, so romantic. If you love classic romance–football players, strong, independent women, flying sparks, you will love her work. You can find it HERE.
Sheryl Lister– I just met Sheryl Lister–but she is funny and she teaches a marvelous class on dialog that I was thrilled to attend. She laughed at my joke when we were on a panel together in the Bay Area, and I’m so hoping she comes to our local chapter again. I would sit down with this woman any time over a cup of tea and talk about dialog, or her writing experience, or about pushing boundaries– a thing we both have in common. I haven’t read Sheryl yet, but you can bet she’s on my “reading soon” list. You can find her HERE.
Adriana Herrera– Have you ever had an opportunity you’ve kicked yourself for missing? Adriana Herrera and I had a lot of good conversations over the years, because she is, among other things, a fierce, proud mother, a kick-ass cook and sommelier, and a social worker of unparalleled advocacy. And now she can add writer to that list. She sent me a draft of her first book–and I got maybe two chapters into this lush, exciting prose and snappy, fascinating dialog when I had to bail because my real life just swamped me. And now this book is selling like gangbusters to fantabulous applause and recognition and I had the chance to read it when. Don’t be like Amy, folks. Get on the Adriana Herrera bus NOW–because judging by everything else I know about this woman, she’s going to be an UNSTOPPABLE writer. She already is. You can find her HERE.
LaQuette–LaQuette is one of those amazing people that speaks truth and makes you feel honored to hear it. She’s the one who has been on the blog before, and I have begged her for the chance to pimp her next book from Dreamspinner. She’s got the most amazing historical series coming out from DSP and I am SO all over that. And for those of you who don’t mind girl parts, she writes amazingly strong women as romantic heroes as well. I’ve had the honor of throwing an event with her at Romantic Times before, and she’s one of my favorite people at any gathering of authors. She’s funny, kind, and so damned strong–her characters make the same impression she does, folks. Don’t miss her romance– you can find it HERE.
KM Jackson–KM Jackson earned my love forever last year when we were standing together talking about random things, and I said, “All small dogs are assholes.” She thought that was hilarious–and she completely agreed, because her small dog was one too. Then, when she met Chicken, they hit it off immediately, and of course anybody who is kind to my children wins my immediate adoration. And her romance is sweet, quirky, fun, and empowering, and who doesn’t want to read that? You can find her work HERE.
Jasmine Silvera–Jasmine Silvera is one of those ethereal, delicate presences that inspires a sense of awe. Her writing career is just starting out, but when I met her in Seattle two years ago, I just had this feeling that she would go far and do great things. Anybody who can make me feel graceful by just smiling and being kind and lovely will have so many wonderful places to go as a storyteller. Her prose is imaginative, and her characters a gracious as she is. You can find her work HERE.
Harper Miller–I’ll be honest–I haven’t read Harper’s work, but she contacted me out of the blue on FB last year, because she was stuck in a hotel room with some of my best most beloved friends and they told her she’d love me. AND SHE BELIEVED THEM. I met her in Colorado and she was omg so much fun, and so happy to be there–she filled Denver with happiness and charm just with her smile. So alas, I haven’t read her yet–but you can bet she’s on my list. You can find her work HERE.
Riley Hart– Have you ever been kind to someone because their very presence elicited kindness, and then it turns out to be one of the best things you’ve ever done? Back before YA author Nyrae Dawn wrote gay romance, she asked me at Romantic Times if she should try it–and she was such an awesome, warm person, with such a marvelous smile. And so much fun, once I got to know her, with an infectious sense of humor. I was like yes! Of course she should write gay romance! And I felt blessed that she wanted my opinion. Riley Hart is a POWERHOUSE of gay romance, who excels in real characters, gritty moments, and that thrilling romance that comes when strong men crumble. She’s also so generous with her time, and so excited to write with other authors and supportive of their gifts. If you haven’t read her yet you definitely need to. You can find her HERE.
Sonali Dev– I can’t say enough good things about Sonali Dev. She is–oh my God. Every interaction I’ve had with her, every conversation, has left me feeling blessed, like the world is a better place. She’s funny in person, and lovely and kind and a swirl of color and warmth and she tells wonderful stories about her children and her traditional family and she listens to my own attempts to be funny and… Wow. I want to wrap up a little bit of her loveliness and bring it home with me, every time I see her. I want to sit down and have drinks with her at every convention or conference. I adore her, and her writing is hilarious and poignant and you can’t get any more romantic than The Bollywood Bride and her newest book looks stunning. I’m getting all verklempt just writing about her–and I’m so proud that she seems to think I’m okay too. You can find her HERE.
Okay– I have to stop now. For one thing, I’m remembering meeting these amazing people and I really am tearing up. For another, I’ve got an edit on my desk due TOMORROW and I have to get my ass in gear.
But it needs to be said. I got the RITA nod and I’m proud. But acknowledging other writers, amazing authors, writers with rich histories and powerful words, in no way diminishes my pride. If any of these authors–or all of them–were on the same list of finalists I am, it wouldn’t make my work less–it would, in fact, make my accomplishment bigger, because the array of talent I just listed is stunning. How could anyone’s work not be seen as better, if it is in such tremendous company.
Let’s make it so, people. Let’s make it so that playing field is level, and all the worthy writers can be seen.