By Tqwana B.
Some rules are meant to be broken…
Especially when those rules are set in place by an industry as resistant to change as legacy publishing. This is never more apparent than when it concerns diversity and diverse books. But, there are still authors who are doing things their way and totally killing it!
Here are just a few of my new favorite authors whose books refuse to fit inside the very small box of what others find acceptable.
1. Rebekah Weatherspoon – I recently discovered this author on Twitter (much better ‘discoverability’ tool than any newsletter from the Big 5 in terms of diversity) and love the choices she makes in subject matter and starring characters. I’m mostly familiar with her Interracial romance and erotica trilogy, Fit. Her heroines aren’t always African-American like she is. Nor are they always hetero. Weatherspoon is also great with promoting body-positive images for women who aren’t runway-model thin. The hot guys (and women) in no way fetishize the curvy girls. There’s genuine affection between her leads that is refreshing in a genre that depends so much on tropes and formulas.
2. Maureen Smith – Maureen isn’t a new discovery for me. She’s been one of my favorite authors for a few years now. I’ve always loved her romantic suspense books and her contemporary romances that border on erotica. She breaks the mold of rich, alpha men always being white. Hers look like Idris Elba. Her heroines are also bad asses in their own rights. FBI agents, artists, Corporate America big wigs, journalists. She runs the gamut on what these ladies can do. Lately, she’s been self-publishing most of her own books, and branching out into interracial romance, like her Ecstasy Island series, which also features a little magical realism. Her latest, Wicked Games, is part of the 12 Alphas, 12 Months collection, which I’ll be reviewing here soon.
3. Misha Horne and AJ Sisko – If you don’t get the All Romance newsletter, do yourself a favor and sign up now, and not just for the free book on Wednesdays. That’s how I found the Smart Boy series. These are not books for lightweights. This is hardcore, gay, erotica and BDSM, complete with a very rough deflowering that literally made me blush. And I don’t blush. Though it’s never explicitly stated, our Dom is described in a way that leads me to believe this is also an Interracial M/M. I suppose this can be considered NA as well, since it takes place in a college/university setting, with a narrator who’s a virgin, though not for long. But, it’s not like any NA you will ever read. Ever.
4. Rhys Ford – Ford was also an All Romance Newsletter find. I still haven’t figured out whether this author is white, black, Asian, male, female, or what have you. None of that matters, because he or she would still be an awesome rule breaker either way. Start with the Cole McGinnis series, which features a biracial Irish/Japanese PI solving murders, getting over the death of his boyfriend, and falling for the hot, young Korean guy who could actually be the killer he’s looking for. My review for this is also coming soon, but I think you can tell I liked it.
5. Alisha Rai – I found Rai through Twitter as well. Before discovering her, I don’t think I’ve ever read a romance novel, or any novel really, that featured an Indian heroine. And like the theme of today, this is an interracial romance, with not one, but two hot alphas. And they’re twin brothers. You can’t break many more rules than that one. No twincest, though. Not to worry, unless you’re into that type of thing. And again, Rai, like Weatherspoon, promotes a body-positive image of women of all shapes and sizes. Her Pleasure Series stars three Indian sisters, running the family restaurant, and doing gorgeous guys. Look for my review of book 1, Glutton for Pleasure next month.