Thursday, July 23, 2015

Divese to Whom?

Diverse to Whom?

Scroll to bottom for links to free ebook and chat details

For those who don't know I've self-published a funny, quirky, YA science fiction novel entitled Sins Of The Father that details the exploits of three black sisters with superpowers. And yes, it's considered diverse.  But diverse to whom and why? The book is definitely not diverse to me as the three protagonist are remarkably similar to my daughters. So who would consider it diverse? And why label it as such? The story is, in essence, the classic hero journey that is universal and relatable to everyone so why the tags? Well, the publishing industry for one would consider my book diverse.  And their word matters more than most. And they do this out of laziness and or ignorance by assuming any book that contains a 'black' protagonist is a black book and must be marketed as such. Most authors would consider this the soft racism of low expectations but is being labeled diverse a bad thing? Yes, and no.  When you identify a book as black, or gay, or, other you are doing two things; you are letting a segment of the populace know that there are stories and characters out there that they can identify with. Stories told from a POV that is largely ignored by publishing, TV, movies.  But you might also be limiting the reach and scope of that book.  Once you identify a book as other you lower the ceiling for it’s earning potential and limit its audience.  This is something that black movies struggle with. 
They realize the allure Morris Chestnut or Michael Ealy has to a specific demographic but they also don't want their movies to be pigeon holed as being “black”.   The Sony Hack spoke volumes of what movie executives thought about movies with a black lead and it was not flattering. But I am self-published so how do I stand out and make myself be seen? For starters, I am not ashamed to say that you will frequently see me tweeting my book out with the #diverse and #WeNeedDiverseBooks hashtags. As a self-published author I have to leverage as many social media tools I can avail myself to and hashtags do provide visibility. But I also want as many people to read my books as read JK Rowling’s Harry Potter series.  I'm not sure how realistic that is if they are labeled as black.  But I also realize that JK Rowling had her challenges as well. The woman is an industry now but she struggled financially and chose to use her initials on the book because it was assumed fantasy readers would not be as enthused to buy books from a female author.  Yes, the struggle is real and all around us.  But are my books really diverse? Shonda Rhimes may have stated best what diversity is or isn't. 

I really hate the word 'diversity.' It suggests something...other. As if it is something special, or rare. Diversity! As if there is something unusual about telling stories involving women and people of color and LGBTQ characters on TV. I have a different word: normalizing. I'm normalizing TV. I am making TV look like the world looks. Women, people of color, LGBTQ people equal way more than 50 percent of the population. Which means it ain't out of the ordinary?"

All this is true but how does it help me? I have books to sell in a landscape that gets more competitive everyday. So yes I'm going to keep using hashtags to bring visibility to myself and my books  because black, white or other,  if people don't know about them they can't read them. And whether we agree the diversity tag is a good thing or not we can agree that it would be nice if someone other than a straight white male was allowed to save the planet from an alien invasion or a mad dictator with a nuclear bomb.  Preferably someone who looks like my daughters...

Link to "Sins Of The Father" download:
Coupon Code for free download: GH22N

Chat Schedule: Aug 9th 3pm CST
Hashtag: #BlerdBookClub
Youtube link:

Monday, March 30, 2015


So my tweeps Cairo and Madhuri hit me with this #BloggerChallenge.  The specifics of the challenge are I am supposed to detail seven facts about my writing. OK challenge received and challenge accepted. And you can check out Cairo's response here and Madhuri's here

1)  I came to writing late. I am actually one of the few writers who just one day made up my mind to be writer. Now I've always had a voracious appetite for reading and I've always dreamed of being a writer but it wasn't until the advent of self-publishing that I really saw it as an option.

2)  I love writing fight scenes.  I've wrestled, boxed, and participated in Karate for years but now that I live a sedentary life style the only outlet for that knowledge is choreographing fight scenes and I love it!

3)  The psychology of what makes a super-hero tick has always intrigued. What internally would make a person risk their life to fight crime? What have they to gain? That is a question I explore in my books. My goal is to delve further into this as I focus on three common tropes.  a) The thrill seeker pretending to be an altruist. b) The reluctant hero who must be dragged kicking and screaming ever step of the way. c) And the 'with great power comes great responsibility' hero.

4)   Internal strife/character development. All of us are flawed. Not  tragically flawed in the Shakespearean sense but rather in a way that inhibits us from achieving/accomplishing great things on a consistent basis. And part of the hero journey is recognizing and conquering these flaws before defeating the bad guy.

5)   Ug! Romance! Teenage angst! Did I get it write? These are my biggest insecurities probably because they require the most introspection. My hope, my dream is to capture both like they were captured in the movies The Spectacular Now and The Breakfast Club.

6)  We not at seven yet!  Damn! Ok number six, hmm. I know this is superficial but I really like the response from people when I tell them I am a published novelist. I know, I know, I am not defined by one thing but I have always had a special place in my heart for storytellers ie Toni Morrison, JK Rowling, John Steinbeck. The ability to move people with the strength of one's pen is my definition of an artist. These people are my celebrities, my rock stars. And me crafting my own stories grants me a tenuous relationship with these idols.

7)  And last but not least.... drum roll... Writing allows me to explore themes that interest me.  Themes like the intersection of race, class, privilege and identity in today's rapidly changing world. Touching on these themes challenges me to articulate a reasoned compassionate message that I hope resonates with my reader.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Nia Malika Dixon

 Live #AskNia chat with Nia Malika Dixon Jan 19, 7pm CST

Thelonious Legend Blogspot is proud to host writer, director, and producer Nia Malika Dixon for a live chat via #AskNia on Monday January 19 at 7pm CST. Nia's unconventional journey from elementary school teacher to award-winning director is truly impressive. This Baltimore girl who has worked with such luminaries as Catherine Hardwicke of Thirteen and Twilight fame, is ready to blaze her own trail. We will discuss her journey thus far, and her future plans, including her highly anticipated original series, Vengenful.  She will be taking questions live from Twitter so make sure you follow her: @NiaMalikaDixon, and tune in! Also for all young, Black actresses, Nia has launched an original audition contest! As a way to connect the audience with the series, Vengeful is allowing them to help choose their lead actress! Subscribe to her YouTube channel:, and check out the video for more information. Do not let this opportunity pass you by! If you're in the Los Angeles area on March 15th, you have to purchase your tickets for her #MissingBlackWomanSyndrome screening event. You will get to see her short films and web series, and learn more about the latest, Vengeful. There will be a Q&A with select cast and crew from all her projects, including Vengeful, and a performance by the talented singer, Abby Hankins! For more information on how to get tickets, follow Nia on Twitter.