Diversity – with Carmen Fox

Carmen Fox

REPRESENTATION MATTERS – Fiction without boundaries


I’m white, have no major disability to speak of, I don’t belong to any religion, and I’m as straight as a ruler. What do I know about diversity, right? I have never been stopped for driving while being black, haven’t had the indignity of being gawked at for wearing a hijab, and have been lucky not to have had a strain placed on my education by ADHD, dyslexia, or “learning while being transgender.” You’d think I’m the last person to have authority to speak on these issues.

But I do have a condition that I share with my non-white, disabled, religious and/or LGBT friends—we call it the human condition. Not only do I have the authority to speak, I have the moral obligation to do so. My family occasionally uses terms that make me cringe. They complain about the immigrant issue at home in Germany. My mother is fine with homosexuals “as long as they leave the kids alone.” My nan once tried to cure my depression with a heartfelt “buck up.” Many times we have argued about these matters, and just as many times did I stay silent only to preserve the peace. Every time I keep quiet, I feel crummy.

However, and without making excuses for their insensitive language, they have never treated anyone differently because of what they are. My uncle is gay and a welcome guest at home, my nan used to be very friendly with a Turkish lady, and a couple of years ago, my parents attended their first Muslim wedding.

Think Big

Rhetoric is important, and supporting representation of the whole spectrum on Facebook and in blogs is wonderful, but our words must be followed by action.

Sadly, I’m not much of campaigner. Who is nowadays? Just getting from my bed to my sofa takes days and a backpack full of provisions. But action doesn’t have to mean chaining yourself to police stations. Treat people fairly. If you don’t know something about being transgender or if you keep getting your terms mixed up, ask or hit the search engine. Teach your children kindness to all men, women and those you aren’t sure about. Expand your horizons every day of your life.

As for me, I’m a writer, and I express my wishes and hopes by way of the worlds I create. It doesn’t bother me that most of my main characters are white and straight. White and straight is what I know. But just as my reality is composed of more than just me, so are my worlds populated by more than carbon copies of myself. Most recently, I made the Grim Reaper black, gave his daughter her own novella, and have teamed up a wheelchair-bound woman with an alpha werewolf who loves to run.

So when, earlier this year, I was presented with the opportunity to take part in a box set to celebrate diversity, I immediately thought of Ali, an Indonesian-American gay werewolf I first conceived of more than ten years ago when I wrote Guarded. I’ve been itching to give him his own spotlight, not because he has proven such an electrifying character so far, but because I suspected a lot of confusion, humor and spunk under his tight, accountant-type demeanor.

Many more authors, including USA Today bestselling and award-winning authors, have bravely stepped up to the plate, and Sigils and Spells is the product of our efforts. These 24 stories are just as riveting as you should expect from such an illustrious ensemble of talent, and the characters as quirky, inspiring and exciting as you’d hope. Their journeys will have you at the edge of your seat and their issues will resonate with you, no matter what you are—because in the end, it’s about who you are.

You can pre-order SIGILS AND SPELLS now from the retailer of your choice. It’s only $0.99 (or equivalent). Disneyland wouldn’t give you a cold cup of coffee for that price, while SIGILS AND SPELLS offers you 24 thrilling adventure rides you can’t find anywhere else. One word of warning before the adrenaline kicks in: this is a limited edition boxed set, so buy now before you miss your chance.


ABOUT CARMEN

Carmen lives in the south of England with her beloved tea maker and a stuffed sheep called Fergus. An avid reader since childhood, she caught the writing bug when her Nana asked her to write a story. She also has a law degree, studied physics for a few years, dabbled in marketing and human resources, and speaks native-level German and fluent Geek. Her preferred niches of geekdom are tabletop games, comics, sci-fi and fantasy.

She writes about smart women with sassitude, about pretty cool guys too, and will chase that plot twist, no matter how elusive.

Expect to be kept guessing.

Find her online: Facebook | Twitter | Website


A dangerously beautiful vision of unique worlds that’s sure to leave its mark.

Cross through the looking glass into Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Dystopian realms where you’ll meet valiant heroes, kick-ass heroines, and dangerous creatures waiting to unveil the hidden corners of the universe.

SIGILS & SPELLS includes more than twenty exclusive novels that roam the sands of Egypt, slip into the shadows of 1940s Los Angeles, voyage to the mystical land of Mabi, and dare to traverse the stars.

From the deserts of Africa to the streets of San Antonio, mythological adventurers strike out to discover brand new worlds and unravel the mysteries of Earth in a limited edition boxed set offering the diversity and originality you haven’t been able to find before now.

Including stories from…
Lori Titus
Kris Austen Radcliffe
USA Today bestselling authors Heather Marie Adkins and Alex Owens
Paul C Middleton and Lee Hayton
Rita Stradling
Eva Pohler
Lily Luchesi & Faith Marlow
M.R. Graham
Award-Winning author Carmen Fox
Tina Glasneck
Sedona Venez
J.N. Colon
Cheri Winters
USA Today bestselling author Katalina Leon
RJ Blain
USA Today bestselling author Cate Farren
Amy Evans
Catherine Banks
Award-Winning author V.A. Dold
Dylan Keefer
Award-Winning author Ali Cross
Michel Prince
Danny Bell
Tiana Laveen

Dare to enter forbidden realms of unexpected beauty and peril? Secure your copy of SIGILS & SPELLS today – before it disappears forever!

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Representation Matters.


Representation matters.

I’m sure you’ve heard that before, reader, whether the statement is personally meaningful to you or not.

If it is, please take this as an expression of solidarity. If it is not, please take this as a window into someone else’s reality.

This is going to be the main theme in the guest blogs you’ll be seeing here over the coming weeks. Why? Because, I’ll say again, it is important.

Representation matters to me. As someone with a good amount of weirdness, it matters to me as something I wish I had been allowed better access to growing up. As an educator and an anthropologist, it matters to me as a way to foster tolerance and understanding, to help human beings develop their identities free from artificial pressure and shame.

I’m a white woman. Mayonnaise is just a little bit whiter than me. I’ve never been on the receiving end of racial prejudice. But I have stood in front of a classroom of Mexican and Mexican-American students and asked them to name a Hispanic person or character they had seen on TV, then listened to every last one of them fumble for a moment before coming up with George Lopez. Of course there are others. But not enough others that thirty seventh-graders could name them on short notice. This was in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, where local populations range from 90-97% Hispanic. A few more minutes of conversation circled around local news anchors. Someone mentioned Danny Trejo. But the consensus was that, outside of the telenovelas, pickings were sparse. One girl dug a copy of The Hunger Games out of her backpack and told me, very loudly and a little bitterly, that she was surprised they didn’t cast a Hispanic actress as Katniss, who is described as having straight black hair and dark skin. She said she felt like Katniss, sometimes, even though her own family worked in fields and not in a coal mine. She said she didn’t like the movie very much.

The Rio Grande Valley was an eye-opening experience. An incredibly brilliant boy, probably better read than me and only thirteen years old, told me he had read plenty of books that had Mexican characters. Often they were complimentary portrayals. Hard-working Mexicans, tough Mexicans, determined Mexicans. He told me he had never read a book that had a smart Mexican in it.

And I sympathized. YA and middle-grade were both much smaller categories when I was growing up, but it was never hard to find white girls in the fiction. Smart girls were another story. There were tough girls and hard-working girls, girls who learned to fight and dressed as boys and saved things, but almost none of them were defined by intellect. I devoured Nancy Drew, and I hated that Hermione Granger’s intelligence was portrayed as obnoxious. I found the Mary Russell books in fifth grade, and I clung tight to her because she was, first and foremost, a scholar. It was the first time I had seen that part of myself clearly in a character.

The litscape is improving all the time, but there are parts of me that I still can’t see in characters, and I know that whatever pain that gives me is far worse for many, many others. There are so many communities ignored or viciously stereotyped. I want autistic characters who aren’t just plot devices or comic relief. I want characters with invisible disabilities who don’t learn to “put mind over matter”. I want an asexual character who isn’t heartless or mentally ill or homicidal. (I do happen to be writing one of these currently. Keep you posted!) I want mental illness that isn’t always automatically violent or somehow cured by a romantic relationship.

I write the stories I want to read. Many of my closest friends do the same. But there’s still nothing quite like finding that reflection of yourself in a book and knowing it came from another human being who understands you.

If even one person can read my books and see themselves, that’s a job well done.

The Siren takes place in San Antonio, which is a bit further north than the Rio Grande Valley but still more than half Hispanic, with the percentage increasing yearly. Sandie and Connie and Nacho were born several years before I met that girl who wished the Katniss on screen matched the Katniss in her head, but the day I had that talk with that class, I dedicated them to her and to every reader who is still searching.


A dangerously beautiful vision of unique worlds that’s sure to leave its mark.

Cross through the looking glass into Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, and Dystopian realms where you’ll meet valiant heroes, kick-ass heroines, and dangerous creatures waiting to unveil the hidden corners of the universe.

SIGILS & SPELLS includes more than twenty exclusive novels that roam the sands of Egypt, slip into the shadows of 1940s Los Angeles, voyage to the mystical land of Mabi, and dare to traverse the stars.

From the deserts of Africa to the streets of San Antonio, mythological adventurers strike out to discover brand new worlds and unravel the mysteries of Earth in a limited edition boxed set offering the diversity and originality you haven’t been able to find before now.

Including stories from…
Lori Titus
Kris Austen Radcliffe
USA Today bestselling authors Heather Marie Adkins and Alex Owens
Paul C Middleton and Lee Hayton
Rita Stradling
Eva Pohler
Lily Luchesi & Faith Marlow
M.R. Graham
Award-Winning author Carmen Fox
Tina Glasneck
Sedona Venez
J.N. Colon
Cheri Winters
USA Today bestselling author Katalina Leon
RJ Blain
USA Today bestselling author Cate Farren
Amy Evans
Catherine Banks
Award-Winning author V.A. Dold
Dylan Keefer
Award-Winning author Ali Cross
Michel Prince
Danny Bell
Tiana Laveen

Dare to enter forbidden realms of unexpected beauty and peril? Secure your copy of SIGILS & SPELLS today – before it disappears forever!

Incredible upcoming box set – FALL INTO MAGIC

 13923496_1217260338319351_7025494772877707291_o
 
Fall into Magic with 20 Paranormal Romance and Urban Fantasy Reads! 
 
#99c Pre-Order
 
Prepare to be swept away by 20 paranormal romance and urban fantasy tales from today’s NY Times, USA Today, and international bestselling authors! In this limited edition collection, you will find everything from witches to mages, shifters to vampires, demons, faeries, and much more!
 
Preorder for $0.99!
 
 13923782_497077457156036_3072262881328993498_o
 
 
 
 
Including:

NY Times bestselling author Rebecca Hamilton & USA Today bestselling author Conner Kressley
International bestselling author Lia Davis
USA Today bestselling author JC Andrijeski
USA Today bestselling author Rainy Kaye
NY Times bestselling author Laxmi Hariharan
USA Today bestselling author Joanne Wadsworth
USA Today bestselling author J.E. Taylor
NY Times bestselling author SC Green writing as Steffanie Holmes
USA Today bestselling author April Aasheim
NY Times bestselling author K. de Long
USA Today bestselling author L.B. Gilbert
NY Times bestselling author Susan Stec
USA Today bestselling author Noree Cosper
USA Today bestselling author Angela Fristoe
International bestselling author AR DeClerck
International bestselling authors Gina Kincade & Kiki Howell
USA Today bestselling author LJ Swallow
NY Times bestselling author Calinda B
Award Winning author Kristin D. Van Risseghem
USA Today bestselling author Angel Lawson

 

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Something seems to be available for preorder.

No Cage for A CrownarrowI would like, if I may, to draw your attention to this fascinating little gem. A serialized young adult suspense?

“But who is this author?” you ask. “Graham, I didn’t know you collaborated.”

Funny story, that. You can find out all about it on 3 September.

In the mean time, click the cover to preorder Part 1!

Paranormal Box Set out today!

 photo 12465921_1066177933427593_2267951300909758602_o_zps5qrllqut.jpgExciting news, my friends! Paranormal After Dark, a brilliant collection of 20 full-length paranormal novels by Amazon and USA Today bestselling authors, has released today! And the best part (Or at least, a very nice part) is that I’m part of it!

I highly recommend grabbing a copy, as 20 novels for 2.99 is an absolute steal. If you’re looking for a new favorite paranormal author, you can’t go wrong with a sampler, including:

USA Today Bestselling Author, Noree Cosper – A Dose of Brimstone

USA Today Bestselling Author, Kim Faulks – End of Dreams

Author Heather Hambel Curley – Haunt

Amazon Bestselling Author, Ann Simko – Dark Crossings

Amazon bestseling author, Calinda B. Headspace: Seattle. 2052

USA Today Bestselling Author, Susan Stec – The Other F Word

Amazon bestselling Author, Rachel McClellan – Unleashed

Amazon Bestselling Author, Stacy Claflin – Hidden Intentions

USA Today Bestselling Author, Aimee Easterling – The Complete Bloodling Serial

Amazon Bestselling Author, Kyoko M – She Who Fights Monsters

USA Today Bestselling Author Sarah M. Cradit – St. Charles at Dusk

Amazon Bestselling Author, Madison Sevier – Wicked by Nature

Amazon Bestselling Author, Marissa Farrar – Underlife

Author Eden Ashe – Dragon’s Redemption

Author Grae Lily – Milan’s Return

USA Today Bestselling Author, Conner Kressley- The Breakers Code

Author MR Graham – The Medium

Amazon Bestselling Author, Heather Marie Adkins – Wiccan Wars

USA Today Bestselling Author, Katie Salidas – Carpe Noctem

Amazon Bestselling Author Nicole Zoltack – A Question of Faith

The books are back!

For a while, I played with Amazon exclusivity, and I concluded that I’d rather have them absolutely everywhere. So here they are! The exclusivity period is up, and everything is back where it belongs. If you’re a Nooker or an iPadian or a Koboite, or if you’ve got a Scribd subscription, you can find my work there now – and, in fact, they have all been slightly updated, correcting for some earlier formatting issues.

The Siren and Versos will be spreading around the internet soon, as well.

The Medium
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords
Scribd

The Mora
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords
Scribd

In the Shadow of the Mountains
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords
Scribd

The Wailing
Barnes & Noble
iBooks
Kobo
Smashwords
Scribd

Here it comes!

Siren Cover hubble text2 biggerIt’s on its way, guys! The Siren will be here tomorrow, which makes today the last day to preorder it at $0.99! (It’s going to be going up to $2.99, which still isn’t heinous, but does give you some incentive to order right now… hint hint.)

And let me tell you, it’s a relief. It’s a huge relief. I started this book around the end of 2011. It was inspired by a comment on a music video on YouTube. The particular video seems to be gone, now, and the comment with it, but you can still look up Opera No. 2 by Vitas and understand why someone might have said something to the effect of “This guy can’t possibly be human. He’s too good.” Because I’m not even a little bit normal, I sat and stewed on that one tiny little comment for the entire duration of a five-hour car trip. I contemplated the nature of music. I contemplated the nature of sound. Sonic technologies. Human emotion. And when I finally pulled into the garage and turned off the engine, there was most of a book idea recorded in the voice memos of my iPod.

It was slow going, about a thousand words a week for a couple of months. And then, in the miserable, stinking dawn of 2012, my grandfather died. I spent a week virtually living in the ICU, alternating between staring into space and numbly, lifelessly pounding out chapters of The Siren, and by the time it was over, I hated this book with every inch of my soul. I let it sink to the bottom of my hard drive, because I couldn’t stand to look at it anymore. I fully intended to let it rot.

I did poke at it every now and then, because it was a good idea. I had posted draft chapters on DeviantART as I finished them, and the people who had been following along were disappointed when the flow dried up, so I sat and stared at a blinking cursor every now and again, wishing it didn’t hurt so much.

I wrote maybe a hundred words over the rest of 2012 and all of 2013.

Then I found that song again, Opera No. 2 by Vitas, and something changed. Given the plot of The Siren, I think it’s rather appropriate that it was the power of music that made the story open back up to me. I realized that, yes, that story for me would always be tied to that horrible week in the ICU, but it didn’t have to be part of a bad memory. The story was what got me through that week, and I owed it to the characters, to John and Sandie and Mike and Connie and Nacho, to finish it.

And I finished it, and here it is.

Maybe it’ll touch someone.

Enjoy.

Summertime releases!

As the academic year is winding down, my writing year is heating up.The two volumes that have been in the works for so long, creeping along at a snail’s pace, are finally ready and on their way.

versos poetry First, on May 31 (my birthday!), my poetic ethnography will be released.

What is a poetic ethnography, exactly? I realize I haven’t really explained that adequately. An ethnography is a written record of a culture – its values, daily habits, artifacts, rituals, beliefs, preferences, taboos, collective history, and the ways it has changed and is changing.

What is this poetic ethnography about? The Rio Grande Valley, where I moved a few years ago, and which I have been studying since. This place is very different from anywhere else I have ever lived. In fact, I’m pretty sure it’s unique on the face of the planet. The culture here is a very specific, utterly unique blend of USA and Mexico. At the same time, it’s not so much a mix as a product, much as two chemical reagents do not combine and produce a blend of the two, but something different. Or perhaps a better analogy would be that of two parents producing a unique individual, rather than a halfway point between themselves.

Why is it poetic? Well, what better way to address one tiny element of something than with a tiny, elemental verse?

You can click on the cover on the left to be taken to the Amazon preorder page.

The Siren

the siren scifi book coverSecondly, The Siren will be coming on June 30. It’s been sitting in my “Works in Progress” page for far too long, which is a little misleading, because for a very long time, it wasn’t really progressing at all.

Well, it’s done, now, and it’s coming.

What’s it about?

“There was a dead body on Sandie’s back porch, and it was trying to get in.”

But this is no zombie; something stranger is hiding inside the rotting shell. What do you do when you meet an injured alien spirit that feeds on emotion and can play human feelings like a violin? Name it John Doe, give it a guitar, and move heaven and earth to help it get home, if Sandie has her way. She doesn’t realize that babysitting an alien could result in such a weird collision of music, emotion, and faith.
And Sandie must tread with care, because this thing has the power to manipulate minds, and even the creature itself doesn’t know what will happen when it finally heals.

Click on the image to go to the Amazon preorder page. (And please do preorder; I haven’t used that feature before, and I’m curious to see whether there are any particular differences.)

Up Next

The writing list groweth ever longer, but for the moment, I’m focusing on The Eye of the Crow and the next Liminality book, which will be called The Mage. I’m shooting for mid-2016 with the first, and late 2016 with the second.

Later, gators. I must get started!