Tag: valentine’s day

Bookstr’s Week in Review ICYMI

Hello (book)lovers. Happy Valentine’s Day! Take a break from all the romantic pressure today and catch up on what we’ve been up to at Bookstr this week. No chocolate covered strawberries needed.

If you are celebrating though, this weekend is your last chance to enter our giveaway for 50+ romance novels. FIFTY. PLUS. They can all be yours. All you have to do is enter here.

 

                                      five by five

Speaking of romance. We’ve just launched Five by Five, an article series where we ask five authors of a similar background five questions. For our first article, we were lucky enough to speak to Black Romance Authors Network members and get their perspective. Catch it over here and keep an eye out for all the exciting 5x5s to come. Read it five times if you’re really committed.

 

via GIPHY

 black history month

February is Black History Month and we’ve got some great content on the go. Get inspired with these Alice Walker quotes. Check out this list of Nelson Mandela’s books. If you haven’t enough in those, try these.

 

 

literary legends

This week was an exciting one for Patti Smith, as she is to be honored with an incredible award from PEN America. I don’t know about the ghost of Charles Dickens, maybe it was an exciting week for him too? Previously unpublished letters by the legend have been discovered and put on display.

ADAPTATION NEWS

The world of book-to-screen adaptations is an ever-changing landscape, not a week goes by where there isn’t something new happening. This week we’ve learned more about The Woman in the Window controversy. It’s been ten years since first The Percy Jackson film adaption hit cinemas. I will be accepting NO hate for that movie at this time. For vampire fans everywhere, House of Night will be joining the legion of adaptations soon. Lot’s more here too.

Gnéas agus grá

Don’t worry, you’re not going insane. Those are actual words. Irish words to be exact, meaning sex and love. I couldn’t stay away from the romance for long and neither could our writers, it seems. We’ve got Notebook memes, top romance novels. If, like me, you’re currently swooning over Emma and Mr. Knightley, here’s some more romantic fodder to feed that appetite! Speaking of appetite, we’ve also got not one, not two, but SEVEN books on female sexuality.

 

 

justbookstrthings

RIP Justgirlythings is all I’ll say. Nehal has some gorgeous romance for us on this week’s Three to Read and you can check it out here. There’s a very exciting Bookstagrammer installment here where we are talking to @michellereadsbooks. Check out her feed when you get a chance!

There you have it! You’re all caught up. I wish I could cover everything but alas, there’s no point to a highlight reel if everything is in it. The best way, as always, to keep up with all things Bookstr is to catch us on our socials; Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

 

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5 Quotes About Love For Valentine’s Day!

Valentine’s day is definitely a holiday that elicits mixed feelings from individuals–which makes sense. I tackle this holiday from a literary standpoint. For me, I view this holiday as the opportunity to share beautiful poems and quotes with other people. If those things happen to be about love, then that’s all the more thematically effective!

Here are five quotes about love from five famous authors.

 

1. “Love doesn’t just sit there, like a stone, it has to be made, like bread; remade all the time, made new.”―Ursula K. Le Guin

image via cbs news

2. “I have learned not to worry about love; but to honor its coming with all my heart”― Alice Walker

image via blogkiat

3. “Who, being loved, is poor?”―Oscar Wilde

 

4. “Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn’t it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.”―NEIL Gaiman

image via that sweet gift

5. “Nobody has ever measured, not even poets, how much the heart can hold.”―Zelda Fitzgerald

 

Featured Image via The Net Worth News

 

 


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5 Love Poems to Read on Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s day is typically known as a couple’s holiday – a holiday which inspires gifts of roses, chocolates, and even marriage proposals. For me though, and maybe it’s the English major in me, this is a day that makes me want to read love poems. I know, I know. It’s extremely corny to say that. Call me a romantic, but there is something about reading a poem and knowing that it was crafted for someone that the poet loved that just makes me want to sit with those words. Poetry is hard to write. Sometimes, a five line poem can take hours, or even days, to craft. So a love poem, to me, isn’t just a handful of sweet words–it is one of the most powerful ways to express one’s affection.

All of my mushy rambling about love poetry aside, here are five love poems that you can read on Valentine’s day.

 

 

1. Harold pinter’sit is here

image via wallpaper flare

What sound was that?
I turn away, into the shaking room.

What was that sound that came in on the dark?
What is this maze of light it leaves us in?
What is this stance we take,
To turn away and then turn back?
What did we hear?
It was the breath we took when we first met.

Listen. It is here.

 

2. E.E. Cumming’s[i carry your heart with me(i carry it in]

image via pinterest
i carry your heart with me(i carry it in
my heart)i am never without it(anywhere
i go you go,my dear;and whatever is done
by only me is your doing,my darling) (read more)
(Cummings has a very interesting way of formatting his poetry. The absence of capitalization and absence of spaces between parentheses and the rest of the line is fully intentional)

3. Pablo Neruda’sIf you Forget me

image via dhgate

You know how this is:
if I look
at the crystal moon, at the red branch
of the slow autumn at my window,
if I touch
near the fire
the impalpable ash
or the wrinkled body of the log,
everything carries me to you,
as if everything that exists,
aromas, light, metals,
were little boats
that sail
toward those isles of yours that wait for me. (read more)

 

 

4. Spiritwind Wood’sLet’s Grow old Together

image via wallpaper flare

Let’s sit underneath the open sky
and watch the night just pass us by
let’s me and you dream of the now
and don’t worry about tomorrow
you know we will make it somehow

Let us talk about our plan
two lover’s hand in hand
and let’s grow old together (read more)

 

 

5. Christina Rossetti’sI loved you first: but afterwards your love

image via pinterest
I loved you first: but afterwards your love
Outsoaring mine, sang such a loftier song
As drowned the friendly cooings of my dove.
Which owes the other most? my love was long,
And yours one moment seemed to wax more strong;
I loved and guessed at you, you construed me
And loved me for what might or might not be –
Nay, weights and measures do us both a wrong. (read more)


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5×5: Celebrating Valentine’s Day with Black Romance Authors

Five authors. Five questions. One fight to the death. I’m kidding. We are in the business of uniting these five wonderful authors, not pitting them against one another.

It is my sincere pleasure to welcome you to the inaugural 5×5, a series in which we ask five authors of similar backgrounds five questions. With each installment, we’re changing up the topic and today we’re talking Valentine’s Day. That’s not all though, it being Black History Month, our romance authors are all authors of color and esteemed members of the Black Romance Authors Network.

We’re speaking to Synithia Williams, founder of B.R.A.N., and her friends and colleagues Sharina Harris, Cheris Hodges, Vanessa Riley, and Jacki Kelly. According to their page, BRAN was created as a place for Black Romance Authors to connect and collaborate in their writing and appreciation of romance novels, encouraging one another in the romance publishing industry. With this 5×5, we’ve got an amazing insight into what this does for them as writers, along with their thoughts on love, what it means to be a Black Author, and much more.

 

 

Why did you choose romance as your genre?

Synithia: I’ve read romance novels since I was in middle school. I love the genre and knowing the story will have a happy ending. I decided to write romance because I wanted to write stories about black people falling in love. There aren’t many portrayals of black couples having their happily ever after on television or in movies. I like to think I’m providing examples of stories about love, trust, healing, and forgiveness with black people.

Sharina: When I was a pre-teen, my mother’s friend gave me two big garbage bags full of romance novels and since that day, I was hooked. I quickly went to the library and stores to feed my addiction! However, I grew tired of reading about people who didn’t look like me. Then, I discovered Donna Hill, Carla Fredd, Francis Ray and Brenda Jackson! I so desperately wanted to grow up to be the intelligent, beautiful heroines these wonderful authors had written. One day I realized I wanted to write those heroines, too! Now it’s my mission to make my readers fall in love with my characters. But more importantly, I want people to feel empowered to find their happily ever after.

Cheris: Romance actually chose me. My parents, who have been married for over 50 years, were married on Christmas Eve. Talk about the ultimate love story. My father is a Vietnam Veteran and he proposed to my mother before he went into service. He married her while on medical leave after he was shot in the war. I lived their love story and I wanted to write about that kind of love. I also wanted to read about people who looked like me falling in love and getting a happily ever after. It’s not a far fetched idea to see Black people falling in love and being happy.

Jacki: I’m drawn to stories with happy endings, stories that don’t involve so much of what I hear and see in the news every day. When I read, I want to relax and escape into a world where the outcome is always positive. What better way to do that than romance? 

Vanessa: I believe that love is important as well as the promise that love survives everything. Romance is the literature of hope. I want to add hope to the world.

 

via GIPHY

 

What does being part of a community of authors of color like BRAN provide for you as an author? 

Synithia: I started the Black Romance Authors Network to give black romance writers a safe place to network, discuss the business of romance writing and share information. For me it’s been great to watch the members interact, branch off and start their own projects, and get together for meet ups. Writing can be lonely, and BRAN is a place where black romance authors can come together and realize they aren’t alone.

Sharina: BRAN is like your been there, done that sister, your wise auntie and your optimistic best friend rolled into one. As a black romance author there are so many things that we experience differently from our counterparts. Having this safe space to ask a spectrum of authors just about anything is super valuable. We brainstorm, we critique pitches, we motivate each other and celebrate each other’s success. And in industry in which black romance authors are often overlooked, underpaid and underappreciated, BRAN is vital.

Cheris: Being a part of BRAN allows me to interact with other writers who understand being a Black woman in the romance industry. There are things that we experience that other writers don’t  face. Also, BRAN is an amazing safe space where you are celebrated. Where you get that kick in the pants that you may need from time to time and a place where you can gain knowledge of the industry. What is most important about BRAN is the support. There is nothing like being in a group where people have your best interests at heart.

Jacki: It’s a place where I can share information or ask for help where I don’t feel judged or that doesn’t require a lot of situational explanation.

Vanessa: The sense of community in BRAN is so important. It can be an isolating life being a writer, with nothing but computer screens and characters chatting in your head. Having a place to get encouragement and sound advice is a blessing. Bran serves that purpose.

 

 

image via B.R.A.N. Facebook

 

What is your take on the fact that many romantic leads in novels and adaptations of those novels aren’t people of color? 

Synithia: It’s frustrating because I’d like to see more adaptations with people who look like me, but there are so many phenomenal writers creating romantic stories with people of color that I don’t have to only consume books with characters who don’t look like me. If Hollywood is too lazy to look at books by authors of colors for adaptation and continue to leave money on the table then that’s their loss.

Sharina: I just binged the documentary, They’ve Gotta Have Us that celebrates black cinema and boy do I have opinions and BIG feelings on this subject. Long story short, publishers need to acquire stories which are centered and who are written by people of color. In the Ripped Bodice State of Diversity in Romance report, 18 out of 20 publishers have 90% or more of their books written by white authors. It’s all systemic. We need more editors of color, marketing and sales etc. in the publishing industry. Editors are acquiring what is comfortable to them and what they think will sell. Films like the Black Panther has created another groundswell and thirst for content by black creators because 1: It made lots of money. 2: Black people were vocal about wanting diverse stories. In the past, Hollywood seemed to only focus on stories rooted in struggle and pain. The publishing industry feels so very slow. The ship is turning, but its taking a long time. I think publishers are starting to realize that there is a market and they can make a lot of money when they invest in us. I mean, The Atlantic reported a few years ago that the most likely person to read a book is a college-educated black woman so… yeah. Go figure.

Cheris: Representation matters. The sooner the industry starts seeing people of color as people and not other, the better. How none of the gate keepers learned from the success of Black Panther is baffling.

Jacki: It’s saddening. It’s almost as if our stories don’t matter. But there are so many writers of color that are putting our stories out there. We need more publishing houses or media moguls to recognize that there is a whole segment of people that want and needs stories about themselves, and movies about themselves and television program about themselves. And not just the stereotypical stories, because people of color fall in love too.

Vanessa: Romance is the language of possibilities. For a long time, people of color have been excluded from telling their stories. We are now at a point where people are seeing that diversity is something to embrace. The doors are being opened for more stories to be told with more characters of color. In the near future, my hope is that you’ll see more adaptations looking like real life. I write historical romance. I think as more learn of the hidden history of women and men of color having greater agency than slavery, of brothers and sisters being explorers, shrewd entrepreneurs, and leaders, you will see more sweeping portrayals of our ancestors.

 

 

What is your love language and does it influence how you write your characters?

Synithia: Hmm…my love language is quality time which does come through in my writing. I try to put my main characters together as much as I can and focus on the growth of their emotional connection.

Sharina: Yes! My love language is words of affirmation, which is entirely convenient for big black moments and the ah-ha, I-love-you moments.

Cheris: My love language is physical touch. This definitely influence how I write my characters. It gives me a chance to make a hug or the touch of their hands meaningful to what’s going on in their relationship.

Jacki: My love language is demonstrative. I want to be shown you love me by the things you do and say. I think in most of my books the characters do the same thing. Although I try to incorporate all five of the love languages, I do lean heavily on the physical side. 

Vanessa: My love language is “doing”. I know that love is being shown in the giving of time for someone. My characters are willing to sacrifice for the person they love. Big feat, small act—it doesn’t matter as long as they are “doing” in love.

 

If you could rewrite one classic romance novel with characters of color, which would it be and what would you do differently?

Synithia: I wouldn’t. They are what they are and since taking my last English class in college I don’t read the classics. (Sorry, not sorry) I’d much rather enjoy books by authors of color, past and present, or read a new take on an old idea than rewrite one. I’ve considered doing that, but always toss out the idea to focus on something new.

Sharina: I would love to do an afrofuturism version of The Princess Bride. I can have so much fun with the landscape. I think I would maybe set it in space and Westley is a space pirate. I’d also tweak the whole save the princess thing. I’d likely have them save each other. And my Buttercup isn’t going to take much of Wesley’s ordering her around—she’s going to be a beautiful badass! Important to note: I’d keep the black mask.

Cheris: There isn’t a classic romance novel I’d rewrite because I have too many of my own stories to tell. 

Jacki: Oh, this is a tough question. Because so many of the “classic romance novel” did not contain people of color, I did not read many of them. Of the few that I have read, I’d pick Romeo and Juliet, simply because I’d like the world to know that love in the black community is as passionate and important and all-consuming as what we see in that book. But of course, neither Romeo nor Juliet would die at the end. Their families would have a change of heart. 

Vanessa: I would do Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice with the Darcy character changed into an heiress from the Caribbean and the Elizabeth character, now cast as Edward, one of five sons of a crass country vicar. This movie would offer a diverse cast and a sweet reversal of fortunes. Nonetheless, I think we would still need a lake scene with the buffed Edward arising from the waters ala Colin Firth.

If you want to read more from these incredibly talented women, be sure to check out their websites below. We hope your TBR list has just gotten longer, steamier, and far more diverse.

 

Image via Bookstr

 

Synithia Williams

Cheris Hodges

Vanessa Riley

Jacki Kelly

Sharina Harris

 

Featured Image via Bookstr


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