Kiss me

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“You date white boys?”

That phrase really doesn’t bother me and I barely even hear it any more. After years of blogging about the kinds of guys I like and writing interracial romances the fact that people date interracially is the new normal. It’s just day to day life around Toronto as well.

So why write interracial romance? Why bother?

The world has changed but mainstream romance is still considered to be white on white action. Until I see women openly reading the interracial writing world’s Fifty Shades of Grey then I won’t stop writing.

Our interracial romance world is the real world in colour with sexy skin contrasts. It’s your new sister or
brother-in-law and the way our world is working right now. We are mixing up and it’s a new day. I don’t know what else we can do but reflect our world as it is. As a writer I can’t help but make up stories that 450x658_coverstory_4_5inspire me and that I can relate to. We date white boys. We date all kinds of boys and like it.

I won’t pretend like its normal everywhere to everyone—it isn’t. I write because women believe in the dreams in my stories and because I believe in them too. The world belongs to dreamers believing in new paths and interracial romance pushes new paths in love. If you didn’t believe that the handsome Asian cop who almost gave you a traffic ticket was flirting then read one of my upcoming stories and go find him at your local station.

Truly interracial romance writers are some of the hardest believers out here. We dream a world where the color of your lover doesn’t matter and it’s thankfully given to us legally by the Lovings’ fight. So your baby’s a different color who cares? Kiss him or her a little harder and be grateful for the chance.

lovingContest

Like me on facebook and follow me on twitter then comment here on the blog to let me know in order to win a 10$ gift card from Kobo. The winner will be chosen tomorrow and the contest closing at 12am EST time today.

Read last year’s Loving’s post “How My Natural Feels.”

Enter the Giveaway.
Finish the Loving Day Hop by visiting Author Eve Vaughn.

Free Your Mind

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1788707When I saw the hashtag #WeNeedDiverseBooks it really resonated with me on all levels. As a young reader I’ve always wanted to see myself in books as well. The first YA I read that inspired me to become an interracial writer would be Romiette and Julio by Sharon M. Draper which was a retelling of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliette with an African American heroine and Hispanic hero. I related to the book and the storytelling and wanted to find more books like it.

I read a lot of mainstream romance books but until I found ebooks I never found my face in the romance world. POC women and men want to see their love lives and fantasies in romance books and I write for them and people who want to read a different kind of romance book. I live in Toronto and my world has always reflected my books so when it comes to conversations about race I live with a double consciousness. It feels like people are ignoring our existence and truth. As a black woman living, dating, and trying to find love in the world I’m just like my characters and millions of other women who share my skin color. I want to see my mocha girls win at love in stories and in the real world.

Readers who support our books are the ones that help the interracial/multicultural novel world to exist so I’d like to salute them as well. Join the conversation on twitter #WeNeedDiverseBooks, on twitter @startswithakesh and on facebook.

all gold everything

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hockey_stick_and_puck_1280x960I’m finishing off edits for Here’s To Hound Dogs and trying to find the right inspiration the sports writing and Canadian series that I’m working on. For Toronto our three biggest sports would be hockey, baseball and basketball. Men here cry out for gold rings and the cup like women did with Beyonce on “Single Ladies.” The truth of the matter is that the story is hard to right since I’ve never branded myself a Toronto Raptors, Leafs fan, or Blue Jays fan with jerseys and hats. I had a stint in a community basketball league where I was basically head cheer leader for the team. That’s when I finally understood basketball world. It’s the complete dedication that it takes and pushing yourself to physical limits because athletes do it every day. No days off as they would say.

The feeling of Canadians wanting gold is in our branding. We always want gold during the Olympics and from birth feed our children what it takes to help them succeed in their leagues. We also brand them giving them Maple Leafs, Raptors, the Blue Jays shirts, hats etc. Our men want it bad but our ladies want it just as badly as they do. This story would have to be for our ladies who would give it up for the cup. The girls that understand that sport is this our guy’s religions and are waiting alongside them for gold. The guys who start from the bottom (as Drake would say) and brought her along side up.

Updates for Turnover, and Canadian Series are always on twitter @startswithakesh

For now here is a sneak peek at Here’s To Hound Dogs.

Prologue

Just try to keep your cool man. It’s almost over.

Ray Dalton talked himself down but it wasn’t working. There was no way to leave the pressure of the bright stage lights and with the audience looking on at him blankly it impossible to reach up and catch all of the sweat rolling down into his tuxedo collar. On Live TV there were only two real choices when caught lying: sit in sweat like you just finished running a marathon or try to mop yourself off like a wet dog. Either way Ray knew he looked guilty and was screwed.

No dating history. No dating history. Definitely no dating history questions.

He warned his manger with that mantra when he signed on to do an interview with Christina Grey on her show Modern Dating & Love. Ray had been reassured over and over again that he wouldn’t be asked about his love life.

Everyone lied.

“Don’t be quiet now, Ray. Our audience would like to know why the most successful Dating Coach in twenty years hasn’t met an ex-girlfriend’s parents to signify, you know, a long-term relationship? And I’m not going into all of those times you went just for the anecdotes you put in your books,” Christina said. “‘Guess Who’s Never Coming to Dinner?’ can be the title of your next book.”

Ray returned her smile with something short of a Joker grin. Avoiding anger at this point seemed unnecessary. He had been thrown to a lioness in light pink lipstick and expensive perfume with his career hanging in the balance. Being trustworthy was at the center of his work. Complete strangers gave him control over their love lives. Christina’s questions chipped away at that trust and dropped zeros off of his royalty account statements.

In the past year alone, he could count ten short term girlfriends. Women who knew what the deal was when dating a public figure. Or at least wanted to be Ray Dalton’s arm candy. The last woman who flipped the script on him—even after she had been briefed on the rules of his love life—he affectionately nicknamed Private Investigator or P.I. for short. The woman should have been an amateur detective the way she was able to break through his cell phone and computer passwords. God knows he couldn’t resist the temptation. She was a plus-sized model who was blessed with curves on curves. But that kind of detective skill was required for a purpose and he couldn’t connect the dots until that moment. P.I. would be more than able to track down his ex-girlfriends to see what was up with his love life and sell it to the highest possible bidder. Ray reached for his bottle of water to buy time when he remembered the line that he used on her and all of the women before her.

“This isn’t going to be the kind of relationship that you want. Not the kind of relationship you deserve…”

Ray’s perfectly crafted words made sure everyone woman who heard them was out the door after hearing them but instead of moving onto her next boyfriend, P.I. had zoned in on his “commitment phobia.” As a career driven man he was focused on collecting data from his dating life instead of settling down. But the truth was hidden within a phobia that gave Christina Grey his family jewels to twist whichever way she wanted. A relationship guru without a long term relationship in all of his thirty-three years, the contradiction would be a boring tagline for a rom-com movie in the middle of a summer blockbuster lull. But the empire Ray built was about to fall down faster than the author who was exposed as a liar after getting on Oprah Book Club.

“Mr. Dalton, did you not hear the question? Our audience would like to know how one of the most successful Dating Coach’s… has never even had a successful long-term relationship,”Christina repeated.

Her tone was neutral but it would have been less painful to take a knife to the chest. He needed O.J.’s lawyer or Clinton’s publicist. Anyone who would be able to get him out of the hot seat and into the lazy boy recliner in his bachelor pad with a cold beer in his hand.

“Well, you see, Christina…” he began.

Ray knew exactly where the truth would get him, in the bargain bin or a garage sale with other writers who were hung in the jury of public opinion. Ray ran a hand through his hair. This is going to be my last interview. I might as well do it in style.

Ray began with his dating history andwatched as the audience’s faces changed as he spoke. From shocked gazes to annoyed looks to their watches. It wasn’t hard to imagine people watching at home switching off their televisions sets or just going to bed early. There would be no more advances and no more books.

Too bad because the radio silence after he finished speaking inspired him to think of one of his best opening lines: The best revenge after a break up isn’t plotting your comeback but their downfall. Complete ex-lover destruction is how you recover quickly from an unfair breakup. Or how you end up on prime time news. 

Here’s To Hound Dogs – COVER REVEAL!

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HeresToHoundDogs_coverThe novel Deflowering Lily now Here’s To Hound Dogs has gone through many changes since I’ve worked on it in 2011 but now it is book 1 of a series called the “I’m An Animal” books and will be coming out early this year. I’m happy to finally be bringing it out and now the characters and the book cover can officially be released as well. The novel is a sexy, drama-filled, and really asks the question: “Career or Love?” but from a male’s point of view. Get ready for the first man of the series: The Hound Dog!

FAN20414925646959Liana Parker the heroine of Here’s To Hound Dogs owns her own online pottery store, Lily’s Garden and shares a large home with her grandmother after being estranged from her parents after university. With secrets of her own, Liana wants to take her time going back into dating and who better to date then a “hound dog”? A full of games so you know what your dealing with.

Ray Dalton the hero of Here’s To Hound Dogs is a famous dating coach, author and speaker who is down on his luck after an interview with Christina Grey of Modern Love & Dating destroyed his well-built reputation. Ray needs to find a “virgin or old maid” to transform into a sex goddess in order to back a career comeback.

Blurb, excerpt and and release date for this book coming soon!

Evan and Kitt’s Favourite Things: Jackson 5 Christmas Album

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As I was writing “Just As Good” I found out my love for the Jackson 5 Christmas Album and especially for Little Michael Jackson. The love for Little Michael had to of course had to extend to Evan and Kitt because they are that couple. You know the kind of couple that challenges each other to karaoke matches in the middle of their living room. And the Evan is from that family, the kind that gathers everyone together to sing carols.

NO it doesn’t matter if you are getting OLD and sick of it Mama and Papa Hermes are going to wait in the car until you get inside to sing.

Oh gosh. I’m continuing Evan and Kitt’s favourites this Christmas season and you should be listening to the soundtrack to “Just As Good” aka the Jackson 5 Christmas album while you read the story…except for the spicy parts. Turn on some old school Usher for those parts instead.

Enter to win the “Just As Good” Holiday Contest here!

Buy “Just As Good” at Sugar and Spice Press.

“Just As Good” Holiday Contest!

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KR_Just as good_300x450It’s that time of year again to welcome the Christmas season. Thank you to everyone who has supported “Just As Good” so far and have loved the story of Evan and Kitt.

One of my early gifts from Santa is a review of “Just As Good” on my favorite websites Romance Novels in Color.

Since this is the time for holiday cheer my reader appreciation Christmas gift is a free copy of my next book “Here’s To Hound Dogs” coming early 2014 to 2 lucky readers!

Contest Rules:

  • You have to be a follower of this blog.
  • You have to review “Just As Good” and ask two friends to review it as well.
  • Only reviews on Amazon will count for this contest so please post them there.
  • Email me the link to your review and your two friends review links to authorkeshiarobertson(AT)hotmail.com.

Because this is a group effort the deadline for this special is going to be January 6th 2014. I will be picking two names at random and then keeping them updated by email until the release day of “Here’s To Hound Dogs” so they can get the first copies!

Buy it here at Sugar and Spice Press or on Amazon.

Review it here on Amazon.

What Shonda Taught Me (Indirectly) About Writing Romance

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It’s serious right now in my editing tunnel. I’ve been going from 4pm to 4am straight this weekend but I need to get my stand alone books done for the year before starting on my series work. But after a break tweet on my twitter @startswithakesh where I talk about being dialogue heavy in my writing I had to revisit my inspiration Shonda Rhimes.

I use to be a super fan of Grey’s Anatomy so much so that I would go on the writer’s room blog to see the inspiration behind each episode from the writer in charge of it. What I learned from Grey’s that affects my work so much is how completely comforting it is to find someone that loves you in your entirety especially your “dark and twisty” pieces.

I’m currently in the final stages of editing Deflowering Lily which was one of the hardest books to write for me. I wrote it on and off for about two years. On the surface it is a romantic comedy on the surface with familiar tropes a dating coach and a woman looking for a fun dating time after being burned in love it’s really about accepting the dark pieces of a person you love’s past.

I don’t know how people are going to react to Liana’s past (publishing companies included) since her past makes her the kind of woman other women wouldn’t want to root for but I wrote the story attracted to the underbelly of love especially when it makes you do things that you wouldn’t otherwise.

Relationships are hard and people think that romance novels are supposed to make them look easy and worth it. As a romance author the general public believes that I’m supposed to make romance look easy as well but when I sit down to write I never can write stories I don’t believe it in. For me romance and relationships is centered in loving a person’s darkness, trying even when it’s really hard, and working through the underside of love (not talking here about abuse or any situations that are harmful to anyone in the relationship).

For Ray and Liana it’s not going to be easy to accept both of their pasts and it’s not easy as I edit everything they expose to each other either but being vulnerable and truthful in that moment as an author helps to do my characters justice as well.

summer, summer love

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July Updates 

  • Since July 14 was my writing anniversary and it’s been nine years since I’ve picked up a pen to plot out stories I am celebrating with the release of a free contemporary erotica read “Gamer < Sex God” exclusively for the Romance Novels in Color site.
  • Deflowering Lily will be submitted for review by the end of the summer. For my fall books I will have a clearer schedule of what is going on for August but check out by twitter @startswithakesh and facebook page for live updates. Enjoy “Gamer < Sex God” in the meantime. Read it here: Gamer > Sex God

GamerSexGodcoverBeing a gamer was more important than being a Sex God to Cole Kendall until he catches his girlfriend pleasuring herself…after a “hot session” of sex. To save their sex lives, he has some finger work to do for sure but without a game console.

how my natural feels

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Joan Smalls and Sam Riley via “Dazed and Confused” magazine photoshoot.

“It feels natural.

That is the only answer I can give as to why I write romance novels focused on black women in relationships with white men, Asian men, or Latino men. Or if people ask me about why I date them in my personal life. I blogged from 2009 to early 2013 to help reshape the image of the kind of man a typical black woman is attracted to and coined “declare your preference” to empower like-minded black women to love without caring about other people’s opinions.

“It just feels natural.”

My first two childhood crushes were my neighbours. The blonde polish boy who had a bright smile for me when I watched him play basketball from my yard and on the other side the Pakistani boy with the bright smile as he played with his younger siblings. So I liked guys who smile a lot (still do). Race and religion has nothing to do with it.

I always wrote stories that reflected my own preference but I learned through blogging that not all black women lived as I did—as if dating interracial was natural. But from 2009 onward everyone was already travelling to 2013 and where we are now with the openness of talking about interracial dating.

Though it feels natural to me to date interracially I don’t write romances in imaginary worlds without racism. My favourite actress Kerry Washington put it perfectly in an interview,

“I’m not interested in living in a Post-Racial world, I am however interested in living in a Post-Racist World.”

The kinds of stories I am interested in are built around black women who know and feel comfortable in themselves enough to love whoever they want. In a successful couple being a different race or culture isn’t their problem or main day to day issue.

Loving a person who makes you sees all of your truth and harsh edges and yet still makes you feel wonderful is natural.

If differences in race is the world’s main issue when they see a mixed couple together then they can refer to the Loving v. Virginia ruling against anti-miscegenation laws. Marrying interracially is made legally natural so tell them to deal with it.

KR_Just as good_150x225Share your story to win a prize: “Why do you date interracially or why you enjoy IR books?”

Grand prize: Wins a 30 minute Skype call with me to talk about writing, editing, ebooks, interracial dating tips, natural hair (LOL!) anything you are wondering about (within reason). 

Five runner ups: Win a signed cover of “Just as Good” my latest book release for some sexy Christmas in June.

The contest ends tonight at midnight and I will be choosing the winners on Thursday morning EST time. Check back to this page to see the results.

Happy Loving Day!

Go check out the other Loving Day Blog Hop participants here.

LovingDayBlogHop_zps9713c997

spring into action

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Luke James, my current celeb muse for "Turnover."

Luke James, my current celeb muse for “Turnover.”

May-September

  • Deflowering Lily – BW/WM
  • Twelve Steps Back – BW/AM
  • The Root & My Place Strong, True and Free Vol 1 – Canadian Men Series (BW/WM)
  • Turnover (BM/BW/WM)

Thank you to everyone who brought and enjoyed “Just As Good” who have already been on this journey with me or are just tuning in. We have to push forward since more books need to be published so I am moving on in my schedule to my four priorities.

A surprising pairing to all of you here would have to be BM/BW/WM which would be my black woman character with either a black man or a white man. I’ve been known to write my multicultural fiction focused on black woman heroines and for my heroes it’s been mainly Caucasian and Asian (various cultures) heroes but now I’m dipping my toe in the waters first with black male heroes however I’m not going to be writing about IBMs (Ideal black men), rappers etc because I am not interested in extremities in my writing but instead stories of people I know.

For all of my characters, I have to write about relationships that are grounded, organic, and real (with some slice of life swoon worthy moments). The ride or die truth of my parents and another long-term couple that touched my life with their kindness.

I don’t believe in a perfect relationship which is why my kind of romance writing may not be for all people but I love the complicity of attraction, relationships, and the art of walking in your grace when you’re being loved by someone who truly sees you and loves every piece of you even when it’s hard. I believe in the work of a relationship. Creating stories that people of any culture can relate to.

Stay in touch with me through twitter @startswithakesh to know up to date information on my writing schedule or to drop me a quick line.

Current Inspiration

@whoisLukejames

@SirJoshBennett

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