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!