Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Misrepresentation and Disrespect of the Black Woman

As I sit here in my office, the door closed drowning in my thoughts, I can't help but blast Jay Z's, 'Take Over' as my face is etched in 'game.' Yeah...I got my game face on because I am not going to sit here a second longer without addressing an epidemic that has taken over social media, politics, our damn brains and every where else that garbage can collect and spread.

The title of this blog is, 'The Misrepresentation and Disrespect of the Black Woman.' As a little girl, I was raised to have pride in myself. That was essential for my development, especially since I was raised in a majority Jewish and White neighborhood and there were only a handful of 'us.' As a little black girl growing up in this tiny slice of American pie, I soon came to realize that not everyone thought I was very 'tasty', and they hadn't even tried me yet. Now, this is not a sexual innuendo, it is simply a metaphor once I understood that being a 'black girl' was synonymous with being socially undesirable. I was too young to understand the origins of this and what was completely happening, but as I matured, I soon realized that no matter what I did, said, carried myself, etc. I would always be blamed for someone elses' transgressions or behavior, simply because they were the same race and gender as I.

I found that perplexing. No where else were others suffering this same fate. For example, if a white woman robs a store this evening, and it is on the news, there is not then a call to action against all white women. White women are not suddenly portrayed as thieves and stains on their heritage. If a Chinese American man sets his wife on fire, there is not then a call to action, against all Chinese American men.  Now sure, some racial jokes from racists will no doubt take place, but the entire Chinese American race will not been tagged as 'Wife arsonists' based on this one person's deeds. Yet in still, there are degenerates, derelicts, defiled humans and the like, in every single race, ethnicity and sexual identification. But let a black woman do something...oh, it's on!

There was a chapter in my life, where I literally looked in the mirror and asked myself, 'Tiana, what the f**k is wrong with you?" Why is it, that no matter how hard you try, no matter what you do, you are still put in the same bucket with the 'Atlanta House-Wife' mentality women? Hmmmm... Inquiring minds wanted to know.  I was not gold-digging, I went to college and got my degree. I didn't have 50 kids out of wedlock, mater of fact, I had none. I took care of myself. I knew how to cook, and cook well if I say so myself. I cleaned, and was self-reliant. I wasn't overly aggressive or 'rough'. I wore my natural hair many times. I had my own car, bills in my name that were paid on time every single month. I didn't speak in Ebonics, I wore quality clothing that fit me. I exercised and cared about my health. I had a career. I had a sense of humor. I had a spiritual foundation. I cared about my culture and my self esteem. I didn't deem myself as ghastly to look at, appearance wise. I knew of course I would not be everyone's cup of tea, no one is, but surely, there had to be one or two people who found me attractive in this big, wide world.

Regardless of all of this, I continued to meet and date men who did not appreciate such a person. Was I perfect? No, but almost every man that I ever dated, tried to get me back after the breakup, regardless of who called it off because that grass being greener on the other side was a real phenomenon and once they saw what they'd lost, the double-back was a sign of the Tiana times. I made the mistake of taking one of these DD's back, but that is another story for another time.

I eventually did meet someone who found what I had to offer extremely appealing, and also had something to bring to the table himself. He was a breath of fresh air, especially since I was out there on the sidelines while my exes kept comparing lawns. What I came to conclude, from my own past as well as many of my sistas who fit similar descriptions as what I relayed, it is not only that we are we being tossed into one bucket and stamped with, 'All The Same' across our foreheads and being thrown completely under the bus, it is also that there is a blatant misrepresentation and disrespect of black women in this country. It is horrendous! Even other races of people are noticing it, and speaking amongst themselves in hushed voices.

Hell, some aren't so hushed any more, they've joined the bandwagon and are heading the brigade.  As a writer of romance books for black women, I must say that we need all the upliftment and support we can get! We sure as hell aren't getting it from the media, music, many men, and any other 'm' you can throw in there. No other race of people, disrespects their 'same race' women this way. We are the ONLY ones, in which nasty-gram videos are being made, over and over again based on our race and gender. Now, I have actually no problem with anyone voicing their honest opinion, even if I hate and/or don't appreciate what they are saying...if it is the truth. Truth sometimes hurt, and people need to hear honest interpretations, perceptions as well as facts.

What is a fact, is that we are being blamed for all the woes of an entire nation. What is also a fact, is that there are many black women co-signing this bull in order to 'look good' in the oppressors eyes, that it is sickening and so blatantly obvious. So sorry sweetheart, you didn't get a 'golden' promotion or increase in status because you 'Aunt Thomasina'ed' yourself out. You are STILL seen as lower than low, only now you've been elevated to mule status. For any men who speak out against these attacks against us, especially if they are black men, they are labeled, 'Manginas', 'Ankle lovers', 'Bitch a** N***" and so it goes...  If anyone goes against this agenda publicly, they are ridiculed and hung by their toenails. Yes, the idea that the black woman is God, which many don't adhere to anyway, but for the sake of argument, has now turned into, Black women are demons - will cause your physical and spiritual death if you get with us. Now...let's say this is all true. Let's say the majority of us are EXACTLY what is being said:

1. Gold diggers
2. Loud
3. Obese/unhealthy
4. Unattractive
5. Artificial (fake hair, eyes, nails etc.)
6. Unintelligent
7. Ghetto
8. Lovin' thugs
9. 'I don't need a man' automatons
10. Baby Poppers

If this is all true, and let's pretend that it is, then the current addressing strategies of said 'situation' does not help nor aid in the ceasing of this 'disease.' (That's because the goal is not to empower the black women, it is to destroy, but let me stay on task here.) What is TRULY a disease, is our obvious hatred for ourselves and other women that are in our same camp. The inner-bickering about colorism in which lighter complexioned black women are told they are NOT black (not talking about biracial women) or that their lives have been wonderful, chock full of sparkling daisies, fairy dust and pink sunrises because of their skin tone, thus, they must 'pay' by being harassed and degraded by some of their own darker sistas due to what OTHER ignorant, backward ass, self-loathing black women did to them. Yes, that makes PERFECT sense to me...just go right ahead and attack the people that had nothing to do with it and are still just as likely to be racially profiled, harassed, etc. kinda like when we burn our own buildings down during rioting, but again...I must stay on task.

The arguments about WHO is black in this country and WHO is not, allowes others from the outside looking in, to pick up our torches, the war of sexes, etc. NONE OF THIS is helping! Has it made a difference?! If so, where? Where are the improvements due to this attack on black women? How has it changed and improved lives for black women? It has been going on for decades, but all of this in-fighting is Bullsh**t and getting us no where. I have no desire to tell someone their pain and experiences are not valid, but the same thing we are experiencing from 'outside forces', we should NOT do to one another!

We are ALL black women! Yes, people can say what they want, how they want and when they want, and some of these 'hateisms' are coming from people that show a high level of intelligence, but intelligence does not equate being RIGHT all the time or even being SANE. Now, this attack and disrespect of black women, has been going on for years but due to easily accessible social media and blogtalk radio (people having their own radio shows), there is an influx of this disease. Let's take the ten points mentioned above, and give a very brief response to each.


1. Gold diggers

Okay, gold digging... Gold digging is when a person, usually a woman, has gotten with a man or (another woman) in a romantic way, in order to obtain access to his/her material goods/wealth. This could be in the form of cash, shopping sprees, his connections, etc. I find it rather interesting that a person's need for perseverance and stability is connotative with 'gold digging', but I digress. Now, with that said, I also don't believe in asking that a person give you something, that you don't currently have and/or are not close to having yourself. What I mean by that is, say a woman demands/need a man with a 2014 BMW, when she herself drives a Ford Escort. There is nothing wrong with a Ford Escort as long as it gets her from A to B, but it is unfair to then act like 'you are too good' for a mate that has the same as you.

Black women are perpetually being coined Gold Diggers, however, historically, we are the ones that were with 'broke ass men' and carrying the load. Don't believe me? Look at the unemployment rates of black men in the 60s, 70s and 80s and tell me who had the jobs in those households. It was black women! This is a fact. Look at the employment rates during these three decades, the household demographics, and then try to tell me this isn't true. Now sure, some of this was due to systematic and economic racism, but regardless of the reasoning, we were the ones putting food on the table, and yet in still, we stayed with them. We did not turn coat, we did not holistically dog them out. No, we worked and took care of home. Yet, we are notorious gold diggers, huh?! Really? MFer, please! Also, when other races of women, such as celebrities, are 'gold digging' they suddenly get a pass or are overlooked, especially if they are attractive.

Example: Kim and that entire Kardashian clan. Why? Because Kim is attractive and she likes black men. She is also a 'rich black man' celebrity chaser, aiding in stroked egos across the globe, but this little observation is rarely mentioned. You can't have a debate with someone about this topic if you are overlooking this simple fact. In other words, people see what they want to see, despite the obvious truth that contradicts their argument.

2. Loud:
It has been stated many times, that black women are uncouth and verbally belligerent. Now, I will be honest and say that culturally, as I compare us to other races, we do appear to be more vocally demonstrative. Our white counterparts can compete with us for this title only when they've been drinking heavily, lol. Also though, Jewish, Latin and Italian folks, especially the women, have been known to have voices that carry, especially during passionate debates, so, I am going to chalk this up to cultural. Now, it appears that the media is hellbent on finding the women who are notorious for this as their basic 'default' setting however. Most of us do not wake up ranting and raving, with our fist bawled up tight talking about, "You gone learn today!" On the news, they'll find the woman with curlers in half her head, the other side wild and crazy and in colors of purple and pink, talking about, 'I saw tha whole thing!" When this is constantly being portrayed on television, movies and in magazines, of course it is going to look like we have diarrhea of the mouth and then with all these ratchet reality shows showing us beating the daylights out of one another, sleeping with so and so's man etc., it is no wonder that this perception has been adopted.

3. Obese/unhealthy:
Black women die the most of heart disease. We also have some of the greatest diabetes rates in the entire country. This is a problem and it is linked directly to our overall lack of physical activity and consistent poor eating habits. Now, this is not an excuse, but it is an offering of understanding to a greater problem. We also suffer greatly from depression, but it is rarely addressed. We feel we don't have 'time to be depressed', because we have children, etc. that need tending to. Depression is directly linked to part of this epidemic regarding our health. We have GOT to address this. Not to 'look cute', though that is in the top 10 reasons, lol, but more importantly, so we can be alive long enough to see our children into adulthood and enjoy our senior years. So many times I hear, "But my grandmama ate bacon and eggs every day, and she lived to be 112!" Well, you know what? I bet she was on 20 damn different medications, could barely walk and some days was in a lot of pain. I don't care to live to 112 if I feel like death warmed over. Also, grandmama didn't have the steroid pumped up food we have, and she more than likely ate more fruits and vegetables than we do today. McDonalds sells mummified apple slices, old salads and fries...that is the closest you are going to get from them, towards good health. Don't talk to me about the long life of grandmama, tell me how she felt!

This is not about attacking womens' body shapes and sizes. It is about being truthful about a problem in our community so we can address it. We do all come in different packages, and not everyone is supposed to be a size 3, but NO ONE is supposed to be wheezing out of breath, unable to walk up their steps without getting winded, etc. We have to start loving ourselves again. This is tied into our self esteem that is partially plummeting due in fact, to the misrepresentation and disrespect of the black woman. We are buying the hype, believing we are exactly what we are being portrayed as, which results in a defeatism attitude. We shrug our shoulders and give up. Don't. If you don't cherish yourself, no one else will. We teach people how to treat us.

4. Unattractive:
Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and society has told us that darker skin tones, kinky hair, full lips, etc. are not attractive. Let's put the age old argument aside that we know that some other races are getting tans and lip and ass injections, they are still NOT black, so understand, they get a pass, and we don't so all that but so and so does it, doesn't mean a hill of beans. There is nothing that can be done about the laws of basic human attraction. Either someone finds you attractive or they don't, and you know what? The Eurocentric standard of beauty is just that, Eurocentric. We are not nor will we ever be white, nor should we adopt this notion that anything other than what we are naturally, is better and something to aspire to. Again, this ties into self esteem, and ours has been on the decline for eons.

5. Artificial (fake hair, eyes, nails etc.):
Again, let's be honest. We are keeping these weave importers in business. As more and more black women embrace their natural tresses, the numbers are declining, but there is still a need for it, due to wanting a change of pace as well as protective styling. Now, I must also mention, many white female celebrities are wearing weaves, too. However, we rarely hear about them, though they often openly admit that they have weaves, colored contact lenses etc. When a white woman gets a fake tush, no one accuses her of trying to be black. When a black woman gets a weave, suddenly, she has been having dreams of being a white princess and hates her black self down to the little brown core. It is utterly ridiculous.

Ancient Egyptian women were dying their hair ,making wigs, putting on make-up, etc. long before a white mofo even stepped FOOT in their land. Were they trying to be white? How can you try to be something that you've never even seen?! Not all black women that wear weaves, wigs, etc. want to be a non-black women. This is so old and stale, I think some people need to come better than this. Now again, the other side of the coin is this: Yes, there are SOME black women who more than likely hate their physical appearance due to their afrocentric features, and try to change them in order to feel better about themselves, however, I'm so sorry, I don't believe for one second this is the majority. Women of all races, are notorious for enjoying changing our hair and appearance for the sake of fashion. Even women in indigenous tribes are doing body modifications, it doesn't mean they hate themselves. It is a form of expression, period.

6. Unintelligent:
Is this based on test scores? It is based on personal observations of the majority of black women in this country? No. This argument is used by those that can't come up with anything else. It is like two children fighting and one says, "You're ugly." and the other says, "Oh yeah? Well you're stupid!" NEXT!

7. Ghetto:
People behave in the manner in which their environment dictates until they are taught and/or see better. Yes, there is a such thing as a ghetto mentality. I didn't write this blog to sugar-coat s**t and have some little chit chat with cocoa around the fireplace. No, I did this to be totally open, honest and frank. Here's the thing about 'ghetto' though, it is similar to what some coin, 'white trash.' Funny how, we don't hear about the WT when the ghetto argument is being used to degrade black women, while women of other races are put on a pedestal and twirled around for all to see. Oh no, my dear, the focus is only on US since we are the target. Again, cherry picking and straw-manning are common argumentative tactics that fail, but sound good to untrained ears.

8. Lovin' thugs:
I never understood this one. I've personally never been attracted to a man that went in and out of jail, drank himself silly, smoked weed like his last name was Dandelion, wore his pants saggin' so that the crack in his ass was visible to the world and other nonsense. I never wanted to date thugs, have sex with them, let alone be in a relationship with one. That was never my speed, and last I checked, I'm a black woman. I am not convinced that the people that say that all black women love thugs, have run into a few 'ghetto women' and because they had horrible luck or poor judgement in character with women telling them they didn't want their ass, now, we all want thugs because they got rejected, so now they are butt hurt. And what's the next step? That bucket I spoke of earlier is removed from the dusty ass shelf, and we are all thrown into it and pushed down the basement steps. I wanna, thug, huh? Give me a m**** f**** break!

Do some women like thugs? Sure, and so do a lot of white women chasing black penis for the Mandingo myth! Yet, I don't see billboards, massive amounts of videos, vlobs and blogs about these women. Hmmm, interesting! Get the hell outta here with that. Thugs are not reliable. They are not good communicators. They don't understand the importance of family. The only know now how to screw, not make love. Their intelligence, if it exists, is hidden because being smart is considered 'uncool' to them. They are rarely spiritually grounded. They don't help keep bills paid. They don't care who they impregnate. They have little respect for women in general and a treasure trove of other issues. A lot of women like alphas, not thugs. There is a BIG difference.

9. 'I don't need a man' automatons:
I've never heard any woman ever actually say this in the last ten or so years, yet so many of the oppressors out in the field, keep hurling it in our direction. The fact of the matter is this. No one should NEED anyone. We should greatly desire someone, and want them, but need them? No. Needing someone denotes dependency...and didn't you just say you didn't want a gold digger? I'm just sayin'...

10. Baby Poppers:
We pop out kids like rabbits. I suppose we got pregnant on our own. There is some magic invisible penis in the sky, that is getting all of these black women pregnant as soon as they go to sleep at night, right? None of these babies are coming from an actual flesh and blood man, correct? We are just making our selves pregnant and then popping the babies out in order to get that check and that child support and keep his behind tied up in court even though he told us that he didn't want that child. Shame on the black woman! This is a two-blame game. Unless there was a sexual assault, both parties are to blame when an unplanned and unwanted pregnancy occurs. Now, he is being forced to take care of a baby that he never wanted, and we trapped him, right? Well of course we did! It is because we are ghetto, loud, obese gold diggers who are teaching our daughters that they too, don't need a man. But should they get one,  make sure he has had several stints in prison, has a bunch of kids from different women, no job, only listens to music where black women are perpetually called h**es and b****ches and sluts. Yes, make sure he fits that description or we simply couldn't be happy. (((eye roll)))

In conclusion, people see what they want to see, especially when they have an agenda. Anything that doesn't match their agenda, is the exception or not acknowledged at all. Whenever someone is in mental/psychological pain, and they can attribute that blame to one person or people who fit a certain criteria, you will see a diseased mentality. The problem with diseased mentalities, is that they often become obsessed with one or two topics, and their vision is narrow because they are so INVOLVED in one topic, that they don't EVOLVE into providing a bigger solution. When someone vilifies another, one must look at the motive. Never trust a person who is obsessed with only or two negative topics and whatever those topics of choice are, 9 times out of 10, they ramble on and on about it in an unsavory fashion. I personally don't talk over and over about mess I hate.

What is the point? If I'm talking about it day in and day out, it means I'm thinking about it, day in and day out and that means a part of me is obsessed with that topic, day in and day out. That could very well mean that I am confused about my TRUE obsession with that topic, thus, I focus on everyone and everything else, instead of asking myself, "If I find a certain person hopeless, stupid, unattractive and reprehensible, then why are they on my mind from sun up to sun down?"Hmmmm!

I'd rather focus on things I love and things that can help people. These same people have already stated I've given up on. So why continue on making broadcasts about it? If I hate broccoli, you won't see me making 100 videos about that vegetable. If I do, that shows I have a compulsion that needs to be evaluated. I'll tell you why this is happening. It is because it is all smoke and mirrors. People who do this, well,  it shows that they are either: garnering for attention while they build a larger audience based on controversial ramblings for fame, money, a sense of self, etc. or two, they truly are mentally ill and need an outlet. Yes, and a crazy mofo who is also an attention whore can be your worse nightmare.

Black women, you are being put down, beat down and placed in the ground. We have to take our power back and live another day. We need to be honest with ourselves and understand that we are all we have, thus, more of us will have to brain storm to address these matters. When the black man disrespects us, it tells other races that they can do the same, because we have no protection from our male counterpart. Rather we like it or not, we live in a patriarchy. I tell you this, and hear me loud and clear. We can not wait for anyone to treat us how we deserve to be treated, we have to take the initiative ourselves. We have to love ourselves and build what we need. No one will respect you, unless you respect yourself.

Black woman, it is time to pick up your crown, look in the mirror, and tell yourself the truth. After which, we must address our deficits. Stop chasing people who don't want you and trying to convince them that you are not how they think, that you are different than what they claim you are when they don't even know you, and don't  give a crap about you. Stop trying to be something you are not. There is someone out there who will love you JUST the way you are and even if there wasn't, you still must love yourself, just the way you are because you are beautifully made, and from you, and entire world was born.


Tiana Laveen

Tuesday, September 17, 2013



Come here for a moment, please…

Now, I have a question for you, but first, let’s lay out some ground rules. Your boo (spouse, mate, bed bunny), children and God are a given – no need to use ‘your wishes’ to include them in your acceptance speech. I gotcha covered. Now...

The question is, “What are three things that you can’t live without?” 

Need more help? Okay, if you can’t think of an answer imagine this scenario:…
If right at this second, I told you that the world was going to implode in five minutes and you had that time to grab whatever it was you wanted, then zoom away with me in a rocket ship before the Apocalypse, what three items would you get and dash away with into space?

Now for me, the answers seem to change from year to year, hell, I’ll be honest – mood to mood, but one thing stays consistent – I always want some sort of writing instrument, rather it is paper and pen, or a laptop, I must have an endless supply at my disposal. My need to write and draw must be satisfied, therefore, this is a personal need that requires the proper tools.

So, tell me, what three things can you not live without? The great thing about this question, is that it gives a pretty cool forecast as to where you are in your life. It is a sneak peek at your preoccupations, your passions and dreams. So remember, dream BIG.

- Tiana Laveen (human being, author, wife, mother, friend, personal pocket comedian and cheerleader for the downtrodden and misunderstood)

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Book Property Value & Steath Back Biting

Last night I did a blogtalk radio interview with author and radio host, Red Snapper. There were four of us speaking about a myriad of topics, authors: K'wan, Thomas Long, D.K. Walker and myself.

I spent the majority of the time listening more than speaking and that gave me the opportunity to take in other perspectives and learn a thing or two. Now that everything is quiet, I would like to add a few more pennies to the wishing fountain, and delve a bit deeper with my own perspective regarding a couple of the topics that were broached during the discussion. One was over-saturation of the market due to self-publishing and some individuals putting out work that is not quality/their best simply to make an easy buck, this 'I'm a Superstar' mentality and the other was in regards to reviews.

Now, I want to preface this by saying that these are my views, and my views alone and like all opinions of the open-minded, they are subject to change. However, right now, at 4:51 am on July 23rd, 2013, this is how I feel.

Alright. Now, in regards to over-saturation, some say this is a myth or an excuse which is bull. It is NOT a myth. Wherever someone can get 'their hustle' on, they will. In this day of self-publishing, there are pros and cons. Talented individuals no longer have to beg, plead and gravel at the heels of publishing houses to take their large royalties and pimp them out. This is not to say that all publishing houses are madams or pimps and use their authors like toilet paper but it is to say that there was a day in age that one was so eager to get published, that they accepted unfair terms, royalty cuts, etc. simply to get their work out there. Now, that is no longer necessary. People that would have never had their amazing work see the light of day, now have built fan bases and have eager readers to get ahold of their latest releases. This is a beautiful thing but as in all doors that are open, not only do people enter, but so do uninvited vermin. You can't leave a front door of a home open and not expect flies, mosquitoes, ants and the like to enter as well, and that is what has essentially happened. People who don't give one iota about writing quality work, are throwing together some mess, slapping a 99 cent sticker on it and calling themselves 'The Greatest' and Bestsellers. 

This has a domino effect that is unfair to those of us who are serious about our craft, didn't wake up one morning and say out of the blue, "I'm going to write something and sell it." There are those of us, self published and with publishing houses, who have worked hard at this. We spend literally hours a day, researching, writing and thinking out angles regarding our work. We've been at this for years, way before anyone had ever heard of us. A true writer is ALWAYS on the clock. Even our dreams, at least for me, bring us ideas so I work in my sleep, too! Due to this over-saturation, readers are buying work that is just a ploy to take their money. I want to clarify one thing here. You can hate, detest, abhor a book/novella/novelette to pieces, but if it is well written, it is still considered quality in my mind so I'm not speaking of content all by it's lonesome, here. I am speaking of something that features no consideration of plot, no consideration of development of characters, no consideration of flow and no consideration of research/subject matter.

Not liking something, is still different than it being 'garbage.' At the end of the day, our name is our brand and not everything we write, if you are true to writing from your heart, will be a 'banger' to everyone who gets their hands on it. However for me, I don't have difficulty seeing rather a writer can actually handle their craft properly, or if they are just someone who saw an easy way to make some money and jumped in. And by the way, it's not is hard as hell but for some of those on the outside looking in, they believe they can whip something together and become the next Stephen King. 

This has brought the book property value down and some readers as well as some authors now, have caused others of us 'living in this neighborhood' to bow down to the pressure. Over here, you've got someone selling their novel for 99 cents. Now, that is their prerogative. They could be running a special, it could be marketing, which is totally understandable or trying to get their name out there, which is also a tactical move, and I totally get that. What happens however when so many people do that for everything they put out, is that readers and buyers in general, then wonder, "Well why isn't so and so 99 cents? or $1.99, or free?" You will have some people saying they won't spend more than 3 bucks on books for a kindle/nook book, but they'll spend $5-$7 for some disgusting fast food meal that has been sitting around all day, and not complain about it. They'll spend double that and more, for all sorts of nonsense. They'll wolf it down, never see it again, but want to complain about a book costing the same and it happens to be something they can re-read and enjoy over and over again and actually may be quite entertaining and educational. We as authors have to raise the bar and stop selling ourselves short. The bulk of my day has some element of writing involved and considering that for me personally, on average, it takes me between 3-6 months to write a book, and most of my work are full-length novels, I think I have earned what is charged because I don't put out inferior work. I owe myself and my readers only things I can be proud of and I grow and learn with each release. Someone may hate my book(s), and that is fine, but they won't be able to say that it was sloppy or some mess I just threw together overnight, because the time I put in, regardless of their opinion on the work, will show.

Those of us that have a trained eye, as readers and authors, more times than not, know quality when we read it, and we can tell when someone just sat down and piece-mealed something together over the course of a day or two. The work reads completely differently.  If I live in a neighborhood and my neighbors have decided to sell their homes for $500.00, they stop caring for their lawns, allow trash to accumulate and sell meth and cocaine out of their dwellings, what is that going to do to the property value of my own home? It will plummet. What one person is doing in this market, has a domino effect, as I said earlier. This is unacceptable, but this is what happens.  I've touched on pricing on Facebook as well as here, but wanted to give more perspective because I hear the complaints, but I don't think the people complaining truly understand what it entails to write a book and all the steps thereafter, to get it out into the mainstream. If they truly did, they'd understand that their assumptions are in error.

Alrighty then...moving along. Let's look at this 'Superstar' mentality. Acclaimed author K'wan (King of Urban Fiction/Street Lit) mentioned this ideology of some writers talking about they are superstars, etc. and I could not agree more. Writers, as a profession, used to be humble. We created, released, and went on our way. Now you've got people that are out here basically 'Georgiaing' readers (hustling/pimping/pulling a fast one) into this notion of they are the 'greatest'. They are on some Muhammad Ali ish, and it is embarrassing and ridiculous.  "Get on my team", "My pen is deadly", "My books are AK-47s - deadly", "I spit mad fire on pages." Okay, it is great to be confidant in your work. You need to be, actually, or you won't make it because for every one person that is uplifting you, five more are trying to pull you down but this is outrageous. 

I've seen it myself in others and it is a real turn off and more importantly, and ironically, however you wish to view it, some of the people doing this aren't worth their weight in Quill feathers. The writers who truly are 'the greatest' are often the ones you don't hear a peep out of. They are too busy honing their craft, to be online patting their own back 24-7. Now yes, occasionally you do meet someone with a big mouth and loud persona, who really can rock the laptop. That's fine, but more times than not, that is not the case. Not everyone is Ali in this! You turn off seasoned readers, potential new readers, fellow authors and networking opportunities when you do this so for anyone trying to get into this business, please, whatever you do, have faith in yourself, but don't go overboard and start smelling yourself. It's not a good look.

Now, let's quickly look at stealth back biting which was also brought up during the radio show. Stealth back biting is actually what I have coined/termed when another writer and/or writer friends, purposefully seek to harm another author online rather it is low reviews, untrue commentary or bullying. As stated a million times, I don't read my reviews and the rare time I see one or two, it is due to me having to go online for another matter and amazon will suggest my own book to me occasionally, as I shop for something else, lol. Again, this is just me, and we as writers have to find what works best for us individually, but reviews are not something I'm interested in reading. If a reader wants me to know/see their review, they know how to contact me. If  something is wrong with a kindle upload etc., please notify me, other than that. I steer clear. The reviews are for other readers and due to the silly, immature games played and the politics behind them, I stay away from it. I am no longer interested in trying to correct someone who has given false information, or interact with anyone in that arena. People are going to say what they are going to say, and that's that. Now as far as me as an author leaving reviews for other authors, you better believe that if I don't have a positive review to leave, I don't leave one at all because I personally consider that a conflict of interest. 

If a book is having major problems, readers will make sure others know and I don't need to join the boxing match. You don't see teachers, lawyers, doctors, etc. 'going in' on each other online and public often and do you know why? Because it's unprofessional. I rarely read anything in my own genre now because I don't have a lot of time and I don't want anyone elses' 'style' running through my head but I do read a lot, and if I'm taking a break and do read in my genre or another and I enjoyed the book, I mayleave a review. I seldom leave reviews however. It's just not my thing. I only leave honest reviews when I do, however, so if I didn't like something, I'm not saying anything unless the author messages me and asks me how I liked it and even then, I will be truthful but communicate with them in a respectful manner. I don't believe in slamming people nor BSing people. I know how hard it is to write a book, get it ready and out there for public consumption and since I understand this process, the last thing I want to do, is tear another human being a part who is just trying to do what they love. That's not me, I don't want the karmic repercussions, I'm not in any of these little author 'mean chic' cliques, and I don't get down like that. It's not cute. It's not classy. From my observations, it appears to happen (the attacks) more so in the romance genre than any other but in fairness, romance is the 'biggest' genre, so that makes sense. I am hoping for the day when we get back to how writers used to be, before 'internet thugging' made people brazen. When you do things like that, you are actually showing others that you aren't confident enough in your own work, because you have to bring someone else down to your level of self-defeat. Nothing positive comes from that.

In closing, please remember that when you price yourself, you are telling people how much not only your book is worth, but your brand, your talent and the industry. You set up an expectation. If you busted your behind, then don't keep your book at a dollar for an eternity if you know darn well it is worth more than that. Most of us have lost sleep, been up late writing, taking time away from things we may have really needed to do, all in an effort to bring our readers and ourselves, something we can disappear inside and possibly learn from. Besides my family and God, my writing is one of the most important things in my life. I have to write. It's not an option, it's a necessity.

Be blessed and carry on.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Editorial Review of, 'Saved and SAINTified'

Editorial Review of new release: "Saved and SAINTified"

In this third installment of the Saint series, the hero faces some formidable new challenges—but while in the other two books these challenges were mainly external, in Saint and SAINTified, he confronts both internal and external trials. As he and his beloved family wait for his third child, a daughter, to arrive, Saint comes face-to-face with both his inner demons and the most terrifying nemesis of all that could threaten the destruction of all that he loves.

Saint is a very particular hero—he’s in-your-face, confident, responsible, loving, and yes, even arrogant to the point that we want to slap him at times. Yet, hasn’t he earned the right to be a little infuriating? He’s passionate, he’s all in—and he doesn’t do half-measures. Yet, when push comes to shove, he always steps up to the plate, and he admits his failures, if oftentimes only to himself. This makes him human, fallible, and a man you cannot help but love. In no other book in this series does Saint’s fallibility jump out so eloquently, so loudly, as it does in this one. And in no other book does our heart break for Saint and Xenia and those endearing children of theirs as it happens with this story.

The cast of supporting characters is extremely well fleshed out. We meet Saint’s father, Bomb, Beset, Jagger, Lawrence, Hassani and Dakarai, and all these characters made me laugh and cry and feel all sorts of emotions as though they were sitting right next to me. I became friends with them, loved them, wanted to help them and comfort them and laugh with them—which is the sign of a great book and worthy writing. Because that’s what makes a beautiful book—the characters that populate it. Saint and Xenia are perfectly drawn out as the parents who would go to bat for their children. Their love for each other shines stronger than ever, more so now that things have the potential of ending tragically for them.

I recommend this book to anyone who can take bold, unapologetic writing such as Tiana Laveen’s. The author doesn’t shy away from offensive language or from “keeping it real”. Her love scenes are highly erotic. In short, she says it like it is and doesn’t hide behind a veil of political correctness. She is loyal and true to the characters, no matter the cost—and this, I think, is the thing I feel most gratitude to her for. Saint is ultimately a product of the South Bronx, and when the veneer of learned sophistication is peeled away, he is who and what he is. This is what makes him fascinating, at times irritating in his “man’s man” attitude, but yeah, utterly irresistible. He is the ultimate hero—the man you would love to be stranded with in a dangerous situation because he’s the one who will sure as hell get you out of that pickle. He has fears, but for this reason he has learned to overcome them. He is Achilles with a protected heel, a gutsy Ulysses who would travel to the bowels of Hell to save his family, and he is the male equivalent of Joan of Arc, and will burn to the bone to uphold that which he believes in. His family, his life. We all want to love a man like this, and will forgive him a tad of overconfidence if need be, because Saint will be there for you until the end. All the more, because in Saved and SAINTified, you see the man stripped down to his bare essence, and you can fairly touch his vulnerability.

My ultimate recommendation is to read this series because it is different, because it is unique, and because it delivers to the last word.

Natalie G. Owens – author of “An Eternity of Roses (The Valthreans: Book 1)”.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Beat Cha Like Ya Stole Somethin'!

Hi everyone.

You've heard me speak out on this before, but I need to just remind people. Authors, most of us I believe, work very hard on our books. We have other obligations, families, jobs etc. and if we are indie, we have to spend money out of our own pocket many times to make sure our finished 'product' is ready to go. Please do not ask for illegal shares and/or downloads of our work. It hurts us - not just because of the money, because of our blood, sweat and tears. It is a slap in the face. If you really like our work, and you want us to keep writing, PLEASE PURCHASE your OWN copy. We know when our work is being pirated, more times than not. We also know that some of the people on our 'friends list' and followers on twitter, are the ones requesting our books on illegal share sites and bootleg download sites. It may seem innocent, and you may think, "Oh, what is one or two biggie." But that isn't the point and it is NEVER one or two shares. Imagine twenty people have downloaded the book illegally, then they give it to forty other people, and so it goes, like falling dominoes.

So many readers, and rightfully so, complain about poor editing. Well, we have to hire people to assist with that. Many of us are writers - we are not English professors. Good editing costs money. It comes with a cost that WE AS AUTHORS, have to pay for. We do that for YOU. I can live with my grammatical errors just fine, lol, but YOU deserve better. Many readers complain about 'jacked up' covers, or covers that don't match the characters in the story, or the same ol' models on all the covers - well, we have to pay for that if you want to see something new and original. Not to mention, there is no price you can put on our time.

Do you all realize that for us, that are truly dedicated to this, the time away from our families that takes place? Do you know how many times I am told by friends and family - that it appears I've disappeared off the face of the Earth because I am closed up in my office, on my laptop, researching, writing and trying to get my ideas poured out in a clear manner? I LOVE doing this, and without the reader - the ideas would only be on my computer, and never go farther - but we need you to understand, that there is a price that goes with this, people.

I try to get better with each book I write - because you deserve it, and that is what someone who loves what they do, should strive for. I know money is tight. You don't think it is tight for authors as well? No one gets rich off of writing, for MANY years in the game and even then, it is a select few. I'm not trying to get rich - I am trying to cover my expenses and have a little left over for a vacation now and again. Period, point blank. So I beg of you...don't ask for illegal copies of our work, don't download illegal copies and just give us the same respect for our craft, that you'd want, if you were in our shoes. Thank you so much. ♥

Tiana Laveen

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

The Great Build-Up


I could become philosophical and talk about all the twists and turns throughout a writing journey but there is no need for that for in this blog entry. I have a question, but first let me explain what is going.

 I am working on something very important to me. Matter of fact, the book is already written (the bare bones of it) but now is that stage where I go in and fix any 'untied shoes', sharpen scenes and toil over if I really want the character to tell me what to do before this goes off to the editor to be ripped to shreds. Okay, I exaggerated about that last part...

She doesn't rip it to shreds, but there is a black eye or two...

Okay so here we are and I am debating with something...wrestling, fighting like two hookers over a high-paying rich john and I truly would appreciate my reader and fans input.

How fast do you need for the couple in the story to 'get together' before you become done and done? 

 Now typically, this isn't a struggle for me. I allow a reasonable lead-up, except for a couple of my stories that warranted otherwise because the characters NEEDED to fit the scene and the scene fit them so delaying the inevitable for them would have been unnecessary to the story. However, that is not the case here. There is a lot background info. needed because this is a psychological suspense thriller that just happens to be EROTIC ROMANCE. of those 'all inclusive' bits...

It is a very challenging piece, and it would be unrealistic for the two to simply jump in the sack, let alone kiss right away, however, this is taking quite some time...more than I thought it would. I have to be true to my characters, my image of the story, and my art. That is what comes first because if I change that - then it is not my story anymore, it is someone else's who isn't writing it, but simply wants to orchestrate from the sidelines. (I will get into that pet peeve later in a different blog entry...)


So...I am inviting you long is TOO long even though (in my opinion) the story is moving along rather rapidly and important pieces are being laid out beforehand. It is a lengthy book, so when we DO GET THERE, it isn't rushed along and it is RIGHT - It is sensual, electric and authentic. (Yeah, you'll be the judge of that, right? lol) 

Anyway, I felt compelled to take my time with this - there are sensitive issues going on as well, in the story, so that is another reason why I have a full 'background' check of the two main characters - I am allowing you as the reader to see what they are doing IN THE MOMENT (These are 'live' shots) not a bunch of past reminiscing, etc.

So...please let me know your thoughts. I want to open the flood gates and ask you,

"Can you hang on for awhile or is this something that irritates you, OR is this the type of thing you relish, because you really want to know the characters and want them to develop before jumping in the sack."

As Monica said, "I don't get down on the first night..." LOL

Let a me know...


Tiana Laveen