Sunday, January 29, 2017

Saint's sins...


On April 20th, 2012, a book that rocked the IR romance genre was released that was almost NOT released.



I realized that the book had a high chance of not being well received. I put off releasing it, convinced myself at one point in time that it was best to simply keep it to myself. But then one day, I decided to go on ahead and have it edited and see where the chips fell. Funny, I dragged my feet on releasing it even after all of that time and effort, even after it’s immediate sequel was written and edited, too. It wasn’t even supposed to be a series, it was supposed to be just one book… a Hero of Black women during a time when we were, and still are, subjugated to negativity that we do not deserve. This movement of an active and festering attack on women of African ancestry has been alive and well and socially accepted for at least two decades. It is demonstrated in the musical lyrics sung by men that we throw our hard earned money away to support as they discuss us as if we are merely created to service them and provide sexual gratification alone. It is shown in the books written by those that wish for us to adopt this warped notion that if we do not fall in line, we will fall from grace. It is broadcast on social media and videos from people who either know the truth, but simply don’t care because YouTube is now a viable way to make income, especially if you are being messy, trashing others, threatening, roasting folks, etc. When we as human being are being “rewarded” for losing our humanity, we also lose our hold on reality.


As an author, and a Black woman, and a lady in love, happily married with two beautiful children, I witnessed and occasionally experienced the aftermath of verbal, emotional and mental abuse via those that are threatened by Black women who do not live in fear due to not meeting the stereotypical stepping stones and criteria set out for us by people who have in general, shown a lack of concern for our overall well being. Love is not the same as being controlled, and loyalty should not be a blank check to an entity, force or movement that is steeped in manipulative and emotionally abusive tactics. There was an especially heinous backlash for those of us whom chose to date, love and marry men who are equally yoked with us, despite their cultural background. We were not choosing our mates due to their melanin concentration, we were choosing mates whom treated us well, that we had mutual respect with, could grow a family with. If that man was Black, great, if he was White, that was great, too. If he was Asian, Indian etc. so be it! We were deciding to step out of the box and look at the total picture, not be closed-minded and accept that the man that our Creator may have for us, may not be the same ethnic makeup as us.  He may come in different gift-wrapping. Wow! Surprising! Though Black women and non-Black men still make up the smallest percentage of IR/MC marriages (interracial/multicultural), we are a growing percentage, and that has caused curiosity, alarm, anger, misunderstanding and at times, lashing out. This climate, this situation and the misguided, warped and hatred driven movement to attempt to prevent any further refugees from escaping Blackistan, is the catalyst that gave birth to a character named, Dr. Saint Aknaten. 




Saint came to me in my dreams…





He is the only character where I consistently would write until the wee hours of the morning and literally almost each and every time, not recall the bulk of what I’d written the evening previous. It was like I was in some trance. These characters need to be fed, and the muse for Saint had taken possession of me. A stated, he arrived in my dreams, and then demanded his story be told. That story was, “The Naughty Sins of a Saint” and “When Saint Goes Marching In.”

Saint books take a lot of time and energy to write. However, because it almost feels like I’m ghost writing for some invisible entity, there is a bit of ease when I write them as well. They just seem to magically come together, more times than not, in ways I didn’t expect. Here’s the curious thing about Saint though…

Though he is highly controversial due to his abrasive language, overt sexual nature, New York/South Bronx upbringing which fostered a rather tough personality, he was way more accepted into the reading community than I’d originally imagined. Matter of fact, I was shocked to see the first two books soon after their release and word spread, selling at a rate that was more than admirable, especially for a fairly new author on the block. It appeared that Saint either was highly loved or deeply hated and resented. There were few who swam in the middle of the ‘What do you think if Saint?’ pond. 




I would receive ‘hate mail’ from people, mostly Black women and Black men, who felt somehow wounded by this fictional half Korean, half Egyptian man. I’m convinced some didn’t even actually read the book based on their non-accurate assessments of events, but that’s neither here nor there. Anyway, Saint told the truth many times, and I refuse to apologize for that. I agree with many things Saint said, some I do not, I had to use some creative license here, but again, Saint and I’s private conversations about politics, sexism etc. are personal. Hell, even the love of his life, Xenia, his beautiful wife, doesn’t agree with everything her husband says and does! Who realistically, co-signs on EVERYTHING that a particular person thinks? That’s not even realistic but I digress. Some people complained that he was overkill, a brute; his taste in music was blah, so on and so forth. They either completely missed the point, were nit picking because they felt somehow personally attacked by him, had issues with alpha men in general, or he just wasn’t their cup of tea- which I totally get. No harm. No foul. Some readers didn’t like the idea of a man telling them their flaws, especially a non-Black man. Yup. It’s true. Saint wasn’t just a put the Black lady on a pedestal type of guy, because to TRULY educate and help people, you have to tell the ENTIRE truth, not just the cute and cozy parts. I expected for these women who felt he was misogynistic, an asshole with no filter, to come forth. BUT… I also got a boatload of love letters about Saint, mostly from Black women, but every blue moon, a non-black man would write me and say something to the effect,

“My wife/girlfriend is Black. She bought this book and began to cheat on me with her new book boyfriend. She became obsessed with a guy named Saint from New York. Thank you, Tiana. I am now having the best sex of my life!” LOL!




The one thing that makes it all worth it are the two emails that I received where two readers stated that he saved their lives… they were suicidal. So for that reason for certain, I’d do it all over again. This man, fictional or not, became MORE than a book boyfriend for some readers.

Saint became a muse, a curiosity and a teacher. Teacher… yeah, and that’s the thing. See, the books became a series. At the time, I was a reluctant series writer. But Saint is gregarious. He kept talking, He kept demanding to be heard, and I kept dreaming and then writing. But then, resentment set in…




Saint, on record, appears to be five books total – six if you include a shoot off story called, “Cruz Control” that now only appears in paperback. (Part of an anthology with two other authors – Olivia Gaines and Xyla Turner.) – Book title: “The Company.” In actuality, the Saint series is actually 9 books – because over half of them are double novels. I now divide up double novels, because these books were HUGE. “Saved and SAINTified” was almost 1000 pages, folks. So yeah, there is PLENTY of Saint available. Now, the reason I brought up resentment is because the numbers, reviews etc. didn’t match the alleged love. Saint has been alive and breathing for over 4 years, and he just, in 2017, made it to 100 reviews… (My husband verified this for me) yet he was selling. Something wasn’t right…



What was going on here? Where were all of these people that allegedly loved Saint so much, but were too afraid to leave a review, or didn’t feel it was important, or didn’t have enough time to write one (though it literally can take less than 3 minutes)?  I kept being asked to deliver, but saw no investment to 'Keep hope alive' so to speak. Where was the support for the 9 previous books? This is not a woe-is-me post. Trust me on that. I've processed the reality of the issue and I'm over it like a bridge, but the question still remains...




Why should I, as an artist, keep slaving away for something that takes a hell of a lot of time, energy, research, gearing up, getting into character (Because you can’t just sit down and write a Saint novel, I literally have to become him and get into character—and he is a piece of work) why should I keep doing that over and over and over again when the book is being pirated left and right, when some people aren’t even really getting the TRUE message of Saint – they are just swimming in the intense and graphic sex scenes and missing the entire damn point? Now let me be clear. I am not talking about ALL OF THE READERS of the Saint series nor everyone who has questioned me about further books in the series! Obviously this sentiment doesn’t apply to all of you, and I am incredibly grateful for that reality. However, the thing I detest most is when I announce another book of mine is about to drop and someone says, without acknowledgement of the book I just posted which will be ready to read in a week or less,

WHEN IS ANOTHER SAINT BOOK COMING OUT?



WILL THERE BE ANY MORE SAINT BOOKS?



I WANT MORE SAINT. THE F--K WITH WHATEVER ELSE YOU MAY WANT TO DO, I WANT MORE OF HIM INSTEAD. (They didn't say that last part, I'm just being melodramatic.)
No, hi, how are you doing, nothing.




These comments/questions out of this context are perfectly fine, expected and acceptable. I am BEYOND thankful that many of my readers found me due to Saint—but when an author is announcing something else they are doing, something new, and we can’t even get a hello, congrats on the new book, can’t wait to find out what this is about, etc. – and they go straight to Saint book interrogation in a post about a NEW BOOK that has NOTHING to do with Saint, it just drives in the point/sentiment even further that, "This isn't okay with me..."




“ I’m an artist; I don’t want to be pigeon holed. I don’t feel the Saint series is even well understood.” See, that’s one of my main goals, and the fact that I didn’t seem to meet it is disheartening for me. I’ve gotten over it, but in that moment of realization, it was devastating. Let me explain further what I’m talking about…

Saint is a sex addict and sex therapist. But he is FAR MORE than sex. He is sensual, he is very attractive physically, he is tall, he is well off financially, and he is addicted to his wife, highly protective of his family, and refuses to be talked down to or treated like some flunky by ANYONE. He has a good heart, a ridiculously huge ego, he can be draining, at times bratty – but he is so giving, so intelligent, funny and full of life, that my life is permanently intertwined with his. I can NEVER leave Saint, and he can NEVE leave me. We are tied at the hip. He provided a public service announcement – a call to action. He placed a mirror in front of our faces and said,
“LOOK AT YOURSELF!” But some readers didn’t do as he instructed…


They only held on to the ‘Oh my’ and ‘Clutch your pearls’ passages –violent fights and graphic descriptions of Saint making love to his wife. Those were important too, they were crucial to the story, but they weren’t the ONLY parts of the story. The wisdom gems were tossed aside, not given a second glance.

And honestly, that stung me as an artist. Perhaps I missed the mark. Maybe my execution was flawed. When favorite Saint book quotes roll in, more times than not, they are dominated by the sexual acts, or something sassy from Mama Pam. Those are great too; I had a hell of a fun time writing them… but what about the 10s, 20s, and 30s of pages of Saint speaking to the Black Queens and Rainbeaus at conferences? What about him addressing our low self esteem issues and how they arose? What about his relationship with Bomb? Scenes with his father?What about racism he discussed in this country (USA)? About interracial love and how Black love comprise ALL love, because we ALL came from the original Black woman and man! Why don’t I see this more?

 Because I failed…




I've received threats on my life, because I chose to write IR/MC romance, entertain and help my sistas…

But I failed.

I am told I am a bed wench, but yet, I write another Saint book, and it too, didn’t seem to be fully understood by many… I failed.
I took valuable time away from my family to sit and write these long ass books, from the POV of a cunning, yet soul-draining man/character, and that’s not even appreciated enough for a review to be left...

I failed.

Some of the books in the Saint series haven’t even hit the 60 review mark last I’d heard. (I don’t read my reviews after the first few days of a book launch) But yet… some readers still want me to kill myself and write these Saint books. I know it sounds dramatic, but it’s not. Each time I sit and write a book, beautiful readers, I pour my heart and soul into them. Not all of my books will resonate with each and every one of you, but my dedication as far as I’m concerned, should not be even questionable.

So… when I’m asked when is another Saint book coming out, I answer truthfully…
“I never say never, but there are no plans for that at this time.”

I want to create a million worlds for my readers to dive into. I need diversity, because I’m a diverse person, I also need to be understood. If I feel as if my message in my art is not being understood, then it would be foolish on my part to not at least ponder that situation. I love Saint. I love him so much, that I know I would have a hard time telling him no if he came to me in a dream again, but like any dream to become reality, he and I both need fuel. Saint has to be fed. And he is an egomaniac. His pride is wounded, and I can’t too much blame him. He is grateful that his love making skills have garnered attention from thousands of women, but he wants the knowledge that pours out of his mouth, that was intended to cover and coat and saturate your heart, to be just as mind bending, memorable and exciting to you.

Ladies, sex, is cerebral… I love your body, the color of your skin and the glorious kink of your hair, but making love to your mind was always my MAIN objective…




And yeah, Saint didn't just write that last line, he wrote this whole damn blog.


Love,

Saint Aknaten


To Purchase the series:

"The Naughty Sins of a Saint"

FIRST BOOK IN SERIES

"When Saint Goes Marching In"
SECOND BOOK IN SERIES. CLICK HERE.

"Saved and SAINTified" - (double novel)
THIRD BOOK IN SERIES. CLICK HERE.

"Saint's Sacrament - Sins of the Father" - (double novel)
FOURTH BOOK IN SERIES. CLICK HERE.

"Saint and Sinners - The King Angel Child of New York" - (double novel)
FIFTH BOOK IN SERIES. CLICK HERE.

"Cruz Con
trol"
SIX BOOK IN SERIES. CLICK HERE. (Paperback only)

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