Wednesday, August 28, 2013

NaNoWriMo Idea #1

Title: Wake the Dragon

Genre: fantasy

Protagonist: Ember Grace, the only female dragon hunter. She met her first dragon when she was seven and after her sister was killed by a dragon she vowed to kill as many as she could. Ember takes the loss hard, its what shapes her into the person she is today. Ember, a dragon hatchling abandoned by her dragon mother had her dragon flame stolen making her human. She is adopted by her mother's handmaidens and raised in the human world. Her mother, the Dragon Sun Goddess, fearing war in The Summerlands took her daughter to the human world to keep her safe.

Other Main Character: Lennox, Crown Prince of Clan Darrow, blooded son of Dragon Queen of Fire and Light, Avery.  The Dragon Queen Avery. Her handmaidens Lily and Ivy.

Antagonist: The Danvers clan and their hired gun, the White Dragon Cain, and the Guardian council. While they have the simple mandate of keeping the Fae hidden from humans the new Blackstaff is less forgiving. She wants all the Fae eradicated. Even human sympathizers.

Setting: I want to set this in a real city, but then I don't want to research a real city. I mean we have enough stories based in New York and L.A so my top choices are Philly and Boston, but I'm a southern girl so I have no idea what they do up north. Might have to noodle this awhile longer.

Plot: Ember Grace is the best dragon hunter the Guardian Council has ever seen. Her capture rate is 96%. Its her job to capture rogue dragons that threaten the Troll Accords. Fae and humans have a strict treaty to prevent a war between the races. Fae stay hidden and humans leave fae alone.

She is sent on the trail of a particular vicious dragon who is leaving the bodies of mutilated women all over the city. Ember tracks the dragon to his den where she is attacked and left for dead. Lennox, the Dragon Crown Prince saves her life with his dragon’s kiss. The kiss reawakens her dragon’s flame and they are mated. Dragons mate for life.

This throws the dragon clans in upheaval. Lennox was promised Nia Danvers. Now Ember must navigate the political backlash from his choice while she learns about being a dragon, a princess, learning to love Lennox, and still hunting for her killer.

The killer is a black dragon of the exiled Dermott clan, contracted by the Danvers clan to kill the queen, and Ember as the Dragon Goddesses daughter (though that is the plot for another book in the series).

Point of View: This is either going to be first person from Ember's point of view or its going to be third person from the plot's point of view.

Story Notes: Still trying to decide if I want to make this an urban fantasy book or just a fantasy book and set it in a fictional world. I'm getting better at world building and such so I may try my hand at it again. 

Saturday, August 24, 2013

White Authors writing Black Characters

If you don't know by now I am a black woman. Seriously go check out my About Me page. There is a big picture of me live and in living color. I love being black and I wouldn't change it for anything in the world. Yes there are a lot of things that I would change in a heartbeat about the state of blacks in America, but that is for another post.

I love reading if you didn't know that either. I'm fantasy hound. I love all things fantasy. Well I'm starting to get into horror a little bit but I'm not sure it falls under fantasy. As you can imagine there isn't a lot of characters of color in fantasy books. Let alone people of color writing fantasy books. I hope to change that with my books.

Since there aren't a lot of black authors writing fantasy it has fallen to white people to try and include black people in their books. Well some of them are trying. Now don't misunderstand me I am in no way saying that white can't write characters of color. Hell I have white characters in my books, not a lot mind you but some. My question is are they writing black characters?

My bone on contention is on their portrayal of black characters. Their black characters are as shallow as a kiddie pool during a hot Texas day. They are all working off the same cheat sheet that was created in the 1950s.

They are working from basic Black Character Archetypes that rarely vary or change. Its almost as if they believe that black people are incapable of straying from these archetypes. That we can't evolve.  Or they are just being lazy. Not taking the time to research, interact with, observe black people in our natural environments.

Here is are just a few of the most basic character archetypes that are used for the basis of black characters in literature.  

1. Mamie 
This is a black female character that is used to be the mother figure in the tale. She is affectionate, compassionate, she is used as the foil for other mothers or mother figures. She is usually an older, often overweight woman. I mean if she is going to be your mother she can't me sexy right. Soccer moms are not sexy. They have cheese doodles in their hair and they drive space shuttle mom vans.

And since she is black she has to be fat because most of us are fat.

She helps the title characters navigate the turmoil that is their lives. There advice and comfort is often sought, but is never heeded.

Though she is black she is as close to white as can be in her mannerisms. After all the white characters have to feel comfortable coming to her. She most often lives in the burbs with 2.5 children, a dotting husband.

Notable Characters: Claire Washburn from Womens' Murder club mysteries by James Patterson. Mammy from Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

2. Sex Kitten

Here is a woman that has no moral compass when it comes to her sex life. She enjoys it and she will have it with you, your best friend and your husband if she has half the chance. She is every white man's fantasy. Carmel colored skin (because dark skinned women aren't the sex kittens), long black hair that is permed and silky to the touch.

She loves her role as the sex kitten and will even turn down offers to take her away from all her troubles because this is all she knows. She sometimes is an actual working girl but most often she just enjoys sex. Where as Samantha was Sex and the City was applauded for her sexual escapades, the Black Sex Kitten is the butt of all jokes. She is the woman to hide your men from and turn your nose up at. She is the woman to compare your sexual knowledge against. If she knows it, its bad, if you don't do it you're a good girl.

3. Tall, dark and psycho
This man's name is Dangerous, with a capital D. He comes from a broken home. A single mother with his father either in jail, dead or just a deadbeat. He is most often the oldest child of many. He never finished school and he fall in with a bad element, went to juvie and or jail and just can't seem to get his life in order.

Possibly because he is just a rotten apple to the core. He is the man our mothers warned us about. He gets off on hurting people. Especially women. He is the nightmare the KKK is still trying to protect white women from.

Something is misfiring in his brain and there aren't any redeeming qualities for this man. He should be put down and put down hard as soon as possible.

Sometimes this man is giving some redeeming qualities because he is the bad boy love interest of the white female lead. Because just like the white man craves a black sex kitten, the white woman craves her Mandingo. He is used as the foil for the white male lead when he makes a move on the FMC. She has to have someone to choose from. I mean she can't just have one man interested in her.

Notable Characters: Blade in Blade comics by Marv Wolfman, Mustafa from the Southern Vampire Mysteries by Charlene Harris, Jamal from the Nikki Glass series by Jenna Black, Ranger from Stephanie Plum mysteries by Janet Evanovich (he is not black but only because in an Italian girl dating a black guy in Jersey is liable to cause WWIII, so is his Cuban which is close enough), Zayvon Jones from Allie Beckstorm novels by Devon Monk, Tom Robinson from To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee

4. Ghetto Fabulous or the Hood Rat
This can be a man but most often its a female. She is uneducated and likes it that way. She is a finger popping, neck rolling, bubble gum chewing ghetto queen and proud of it. She too comes from a broken home. She was either molested as a child or a former or current prostitute. She too has a bust moral compass. She will do anything that profits her. She is loyal to her family and her hood and she will protect it to the detriment of all else. She has two or more children with two or more baby daddies. She is unmarried and always on the lookout for another baby daddy or a sugar daddy to keep her in her Dolce and Gabana sunglasses. She can be a good mother when she puts her mind to it, but she is more concerned with securing a steady income from her various schemes than she is in being a good mom.

She is the ghetto tour guide for the white leads. I mean they have to delve into the underbelly of society from time to time. They can't be expected to navigate that alone. Hood Rat to the rescue.

Notable Characters: Lula from Stephanie Plum mysteries by Janet Evanovich,

5. Fat Chick

She is the comic relief. Her wit is razor sharp and she can reduce a man to a thumb sucking, sniffling baby in 2.5 seconds. She is smart, she is sassy. She has to be. She takes the brunt of all the jokes and scorn in the book. She is the ugly girl that allows the main white character to shine even more than she should.

She is either completely incompetent at everything. That way the white character is the only star in the system, or she is the sidekick who knows everything but feeds it to the white main character that way she once again is the only star, but a smart star. 

Friday, August 23, 2013

Book Babblings

Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich 

The Nitty Gritty: Stephanie Plum is up to her elbows in cleaver wielding murders, wanger waving skips, and stick bbq sauce in her 15th installment.

After Lula witnesses the murder of a celebrity chef her life is in danger. Plum to the rescue. Between working her actual job as a bond enforcement agent, being Lula's body guard and helping Ranger with his little security problem Plum is in need of a hunk of birthday cake in the worst way.

Opening Line: "When I was a kid, I was afraid of spiders and vegetables."

The Good: Ranger's flirtatious nature gives me heart palpitations in the worst way. I might not be so bad if I had a husband, but since I'm single a girl has to get her kicks somehow right?

Grandma Mazur is without a doubt the coolest woman over the age of 75. She is grabbing life by the balls and refusing to let go. She isn't afraid to put herself out there to simple test the waters. Even when crazed maniacs stab her in the middle of broad daylight she manages to keep her wits enough to wonder if she can show off her wound at the funeral home for her 15 minutes of fame. Whereas Stephanie panics when the 7-11 is out of Snickers.

I actually like Joe Morelli. Here is a man that makes no apologies for the man that he is. He is an Italian stallions that likes his meatball subs, beer, and sex. Sometimes not that in that order either. He doesn't let Stephanie push him around to get her way. He doesn't change to make her happy. I like that.

The Bad: Wow, we are at book 15 people. Book 15. And Plum is still the exact same person she was on One for The Money. Nothing has changed for her, nothing has improved. I mean I can now read the jacket on each book and predict the ending without reading a single word.

Stephanie will find a dead body or one will be dropped off at her apartment. I mean everyone break into her apartment right. Then there will be some cursing a shooting by Lula. Copious amounts of chicken from Cluck in a Bucket, some laughable apprehension scenes, sexual tension with Ranger, sex with Morelli, mounds of poo from Bob and miraculously Stephanie will somehow save the day.

This woman defies logic. She eats at least four cakes per book, buckets and buckets of chicken, lamb, ham, fries, cokes, tastykakes, peanut butter and olive sandwiches, and doesn't gain a pound. I mean I am impressed.

Whereas Lula, the lovable comic relief seems to get bigger as the series progresses. Yet she eats the same amount of food Stephanie does. In fact in this book Plum has the gaul to suggest that Lula goes on a diet. As if Stephanie is the healthiest person in the world.

I mean I don't know about anyone else but I am sick of Stephanie's life. She doesn't have any marketable skill set. She can't cook, she can't clean, she works in a job that requires her to carry a gun and in fact she has been in situations that could have been avoidable is she had bee carrying yet she keeps her gun in a cookie jar as if that makes it acceptable.

We are at book 15 and she is still mystified at the fact that she sucks at her job. I don't understand why she keeps letting her skips out of her sight to use the bathroom, or lock up the house, or check the thermostat. We all know what's going to happen yet Stephanie falls for the same trick over and over again. I'm starting to think Rex is the smart one in that relationship. At least he doesn't pretend that he's not running on his wheel.

Speaking of Rex he is the hamster that just won't die. The average lifespan for a hamster is 3 years on a good day. Rex was alive before the series started. Wherever she got that hamster they need to give us the secret to eternal life.

Stephanie is afraid of everything. Yet she does nothing to overcome that fear. She keeps walking into the same traps, the same bad situations, over and over again. I could set my menstrual cycle by it.

And I am getting sick of her and the triangle sex, maybe its love thing. I could see this from an 18, but Plum is well over 30. There has to come a point in your life when you grow the hell up and put on your big girl panties. Ranger does not want to date her, he does not want to marry her he has made the clear time and time again yet Plum is still struggling with her attraction to him. Yes he is gorgeous and a wonderful lay, but that's as far as anything goes with Ranger and Plum has said that she wants more. However when presented with more with Morelli she balks.

She wants to keep her apartment. I've seen cell blocks with more personality than her place. Its constantly getting broken into, dead bodies dropped off, crazed killers on the fire escape yet she wants to keep it. Morelli wants more with her but she wants to keep playing these games.

If I were Morelli and Ranger I would tell her to go eat a birthday cake and then take a flying leap into the Hudson. Both of them deserve more.

Final Thoughts: I just can't keep going with this series. Jackass 3D had more character development than this series.