Deciding what genre you write should not be this difficult!!!!

Finding the Correct Genre For Your ProseOkay, admit it, we’ve all been there. You get an idea; invest time, tears, aggravation, and determination to write it all down. Then you struggle with letting it go long enough for a friend or relative to read it. You gird yourself emotionally (or at least you try to) while you listen to their feedback, then cry when in private. Despite however many edits it takes to tell your tale, one of the first questions asked by your reader is, “What genre do you write?”

You would think it would be easy to say, (fill in the blank), but not these days. Genres no longer carry the simple tags of Romance, Mystery, Suspense, Drama, and Sci-Fi. There are sub-genres to these popular book categories that muddy the waters when it comes to deciding exactly where your manuscript fits in. Not to mention, new categories seem to pop up every day. Ever heard of Science Fiction/Alternative History? Me neither, but it is out there!

So, how do you find out if your manuscript fits into one, or more, of these sub-genres?

Well let’s start with defining what a fiction genre is. Visit this link, Exploring Different Types of Genre, which is found on the For Dummies website.

To summarize, here are the two main types of literal and commercial fiction:

Commercial fiction: Attracts a broad audience and may also fall into any sub-genre such as mystery, romance, legal thriller, western, science fiction, and more. (Example: The Bridges of Madison County by Robert James Waller. Popular authors in this genre include John Grisham, Sidney Sheldon, Danielle Steele, and Jackie Collins.)

Literary fiction: Appeals to a smaller, more intellectual audience. Works in this genre can fall into the above listed genres. The difference is the qualities it contains: excellent writing, originality of thought and style. These qualities raise it above the level of ordinary written works. (Examples: Cold Mountain by Frazier. Popular authors in this genre include Toni Morrison, Barbara Kingsover, John LeCarre, and Saul Bellow. )

The article goes on to describe the main genres, as well as list the sub-genres and its most popular authors. Visiting this link provides valuable information to help you discover where you fit in, as well as where to best promote your work when it’s published.  The site also provides links to the Writers of America website for each genre for more detailed descriptions and the accepted rules.

For those of you on a time crunch who don’t have time to read the full article, but want to find our more information about your genre, here are the links:

Mystery Writers of America        Romance Writers of America

Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America      Western Writers of America

So, where does my writing fit in? While I writer Romance, because I ‘break the rules’, the stories I tell fall into several categories.

The settings are modern day which puts me in Contemporary Romance.

Though I write from the female and male point of view, the stores are mostly about women’s issues and the ability to overcome, which places me in Women’s Fiction.

My characters are not all from one race. The heroines in the first three novels of The Butterfly Memoirs are an African-American, Caucasian-African-American, and Caucasian. The heroes are Caucasian, African-American, and Hispanic. This puts me in the Interracial Romance category. Unfortunately, this is a relatively new category that is just now being acknowledged by the publishing industry. (Here’s a great blog post written by a fellow author on this topic: Interracial Romance: The Most Popular Genre No One’s Heard About.)

And last but not least, because I am an African-American author, anything I write, regardless of the topics, writing style, or genre, I am automatically placed in the African-American genre before anything else is considered.

So, where does YOUR story fit? Good luck with figuring it out!


Book Review: Unsuitable Men by Nia Forrester


Tracy knows that Brendan is perfect for her. But only for now.

She has a list there’s no escaping that he doesn’t meet the most important requirements on it. Still, there’s nothing wrong with hanging out with him-or whatever it is they call what they’re doing- especially if it helps maintain her well-ordered life and curb some of her more self-destructive habits. At least until she meets a man more suitable for a serious, long-term attachment.

But soon, as secrets and lies from her past are exposed, Tracy begins to question whether she can ever be the kind of woman Brendan deserves.

And making matters worse, she’s beginning to wish more than anything that she could.

Visit Nia’s website to read chapter one and learn more about her books.

Oh where to begin?

As a Romance writer, I’ve found that I prefer Women’s Fiction more than the Chick Lit side of things (I write Women’s Fiction as well). The reason is because I  prefer to go deep into a characters mindset and discover what motivates them to do the things they do. Why did they make that mistake? Why react this way when they should have reacted another? What past experiences have scared them to the point that the results factor heavily in the decisions they make today?

Unsuitable Men tackles these things.

The story follows Tracy, who  learns a friend whom she’s lot touch with, Brendan, is in a relationship which could turn serious. Knowing his thoughts about relationships, she  is eaten up with curiosity to know who this new woman is. When they last saw each other, she knew what her ideal man would be like, and Brendan isn’t it. He, on the other hand, has no interest in being caught up with a woman for the rest of his life.  And as all relationships go when two people  are attracted to one another like magnets, it’s impossible to avoid the connection…until one day it ends.

Tracy and Brendan have a bit of back story  in a previous novel based on their mutual friends, Riley and Shawn. (Commitment, which is on my TBR list!). After stealing her way back into Brendan’s life, she finds herself right back where she was before: wanting a serious relationship but knowing he is not the on for her…even if they have fun together, a lot. After spending more time together, more than either of them planned, she can’t help but realize Brendan could be the one except he’s attached to the music industry…a business she has no intention of getting involved in, especially after watching what her best friend, Riley, endured when she dated a rapper, turned husband, Shawn. Even though Brandon is no longer Shawn’s manager, he is still tied to that lifestyle. Despite her willingness to work around that, one thing still holds her back: the realization that as much as she expects to find the perfect man, she knows  her questionable past will leave him looking at her in disgust.

Brendan has his own issues to face. The decision to get into a relationship is a big deal for him. If he’s going to do it, he wants to do it right. A good girl, who’s supportive, and perfect is exactly what he needs. The woman he was seeing casually before Tracy popped back up in his life was just right. Tracy is the complete opposite. Yet, no matter how hard he tries, avoiding her willingly isn’t something he wants to do. Moving forward for more isn’t on his to-do list either.  When Tracy drops a bomb in his lap about her past, he thinks he’ll be able to chalk it up to the past and move on. But questions plague him, forcing him to second guess her actions, leaving him frustrated with even knowing her. Not to mention he finds himself strung out in a way he never wanted to be about a woman.

Where will they go from here?

What I liked the most about this story is that while both Tracy and Brendan had well-paying jobs and access to the  best things in life, they didn’t live their lives hanging out spending unbelievable sums of money just because. They dig into their roots, spent time at home, lounged in sweat pants, watched marathons of their favorite TV shows, cooked dinner, and are just real. When it’s time to step out they do, but never hide the fact they would rather be doing the simple things instead.

I also liked the fact Nia explored how past scars can lead to bad decisions that stay with us for years. The only way to over come those scars is to pull them out of the closet, seek help, and face them head on. By the end of the novel, not only have the characters evolved into newer people, they know that in order for their relationship to continue to progress, they must work for it. The ending is realistic and not sugar-coated in unicorns and rainbows. Sometimes happily ever after doesn’t have to end with a ring.

My Rating: 5 Stars-for creativity, heartfelt story telling, and delving into a world of flashy exteriors while keeping it real. I am anxiously looking forward to reading more of her work!

Genre: Contemporary Romance, Women’s Fiction, African-American  Romance

Heat Level: Hot! (Great bedroom scenes!)

Violence: None




Lets Talk About It!: Finding Love After a Broken Heart

How many times can your heart be broken before you give up on love?

That is one of the questions  addressed in my  upcoming novel, Jaded- Book two of The Butterfly Memoirs. This novel follows Yasmine Phillips, a bi-racial woman who seems full of confidence, works hard, and is all about enjoying life. She’s not looking for love, but enjoys friend-with-benefits relationships.

When love finds a way into her current relationship, she realizes her childhood dreams of becoming a wife and mother are going to come true…until the truth about her fiance comes to light and the man she thought loved her turns out to be her worst nightmare.

She should be able to suck it up and move on…right?

This isn’t the first time a man has broken her heart. Yasmine is left questioning her self-worth and ability to trust a man ever again. With the happiness  her friends are experiencing in their lives and relationships, she realizes  fate has given her the roll of  ‘the go-to-girl’ for her family and friends, aiding them to fulfill their endeavors in business and marriage.

What is she left with?

“A business plan and a dream.”-Yasmine Phillips

If you’ve followed my blog over the past two years you know music often finds it’s way into my stories. It can describe a characters feelings, their goals, or set the tone for a scene. One day while cleaning the kitchen I pulled out my iPod in search of inspiration for the ‘first kiss’ scene for Jaded.  The question in my mind was: with her relationship history, what  would  be the setting, the motivation to take that step? To allow herself to be kissed, to feel, to be wanted again?

Then it hit me in the lyrics of this song: Love Calls by Kem.

It’s got a  sexy jazz feel, and of course the smooth bass guitar line (and you know I love my bass players! Ahem…Brian Young). The song talks about a person giving up on love because of past experiences, but not being able to deny it when it comes your way. The song quickly went from inspiring the first kiss, to fueling one of the plot lines for not only Yasmine, but for her love interest as well.

If you haven’t heard the song, watch the video, sit back and get lost in these smooth lyrics!


Final days to get romantic-suspense bestseller, SHE BELONGS TO ME, by Carmen DeSousa for 99¢

Final days to get romantic-suspense bestseller, SHE BELONGS TO ME, by Carmen DeSousa for 99¢

Can you handle the fairytale twisted?
Can you deal with reality?
Are you ready to go to the precipice?
If you haven’t read any of Carmen’s
books, now’s your chance. For a few more days, the publisher is keeping the romantic-suspense
bestseller, She Belongs to Me, at .99
cents in celebration of Carmen DeSousa’s newest release.
According to readers, She Belongs to Me is a sensual and gripping read that will have you falling in love and wondering who you can trust right
up to the last page.
Download Now:
And the book romance doesn’t stop there…
Also available from Carmen DeSousa:
Carmen characterizes her stories as modern-day fairytales, as they overflow with romance, mystery, suspense, and of course, tragedy. After all, what would a fairytale be without a tragic event setting the stage? All of her novels are sensual, but not erotic, gripping but not graphic and will make you love, laugh, cry, gasp, and hope. 
Carmen loves talking about all things
books, so please connect with her via one of the links below.