On Fortification

Yours truly at Indie Love Atlanta 2017. Photo credit to Porsha Antalan at Brwn Stock Imaging – www.brwnstockimaging.com

“Y’all brought me back to romance.”

Not the first time i’ve heard that sentiment, by any means. And it wasn’t even the only time I heard it Saturday, in a room full of Black indie authors and our readers. I get it in emails and inbox messages, see it in comments on facebook. I heard it several times in Houston, usually accompanied by the type of warm hug only a Black woman who believes in and or loves you can give.

There’s a whole lot of pressure in those words, but at the same time… whew. A whole lot of much-needed strength.

As bad as I am at taking compliments for it, I am pretty dang confident in what I do. I believe myself to be good at telling a Black love story. But, believing in yourself is far from the same thing as being recognized and rewarded for the work you feel you put in. In this industry, “indie” is still a bit of a dirty word, especially if you’re Black, especially if you write about Black couples. You’ll hear “black romance is not a genre”, even though you experience the world a little different. When publications make “romance you should check out” or whatever lists, you and your peers don’t appear, even though you top the charts. When articles are written about revolutionizing the industry, and keeping it alive, your name, your friends names, won’t show up, even though y’all fill rooms full of readers who say “Y’all brought me back to romance.”

So that is where you find your strength.

That is where you get fortified, and boy did I.

I said it about Houston, I’m sure I’ll say it about New York, and I’m saying it about Indie Love Atlanta for the second time – a room full of Black women will give you all the energy you need, for anything. I was crazy busy for the length of the event, but every time I stood up to give a hug or take a picture, I looked around for my peers. I saw them selling books, and smiling, and hugging their readers, people who put a lot  into being there, and it filled me up. One woman told me she’ll always support me because she always supports Black excellence, and BABY, IT FILLED ME UP.

When it came around to time for my panel discussion with Love Belvin, and I saw that room full of readers waiting to hear us speak – and I have it on good authority that the three panels before ours were filled to the brim as well – listen… overflow.

How could I ever feel anything less than grateful, when I have the energy, love, and support of amazing Black women behind me?

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4 years ago

Well, let me just say that the black women who write really, really good romance and the black women who read their work have a mutual adoration society type thing going on. Just as you are fortified by the support and love you get from your readers, the readers are fortified by what you provide each of us through your work. For some (me), I can read or listen to a book to keep me from hitting the bottle after a horrible day, after a horrible encounter with my teenage daughter, or after a horrible commute in Dallas/Fort Worth traffic. I listen to books while churning away on the dreaded elliptical or stomping along on the treadmill. I have always been a reader, but today there is so much more to choose from than Sandra Kitt, who wrote the first black romance title I ever read! I fell in love….
Be encouraged. Your gift will soon make room for you at the “mainstream” romance table, or it will make a new table at which you and other black writers will be the first to sit. All readers know that a really good story can transport you away from the horrors of daily life and we are all the better for it. Less stressed, more blessed!! I enjoy your work to the utmost, and I love, love, love the fact that you are so prolific. It amazes me the amount of work you put out!! Your readers appreciate you just as much as you appreciate your readers. I recommended your books to my sister, who until recently wasn’t much of a reader, BUT, now!?! She is all in! (I am gonna have to work on getting her to purchase them, rather than sharing via my Amazon account, though.) God bless you!
P.S. Since you’re fortified and filled, soak up all that love and pour it right back out in the form of a few new books. (Just kinda kidding).

4 years ago

From one author to another, Christina, you are #blackgirlmagic. I love who you are…and what you stand for. The work is amazing because YOU are amazing! So very proud of you ❤


Yes! All of this! I was there and I came away saying to myself, “Don’t tell me black women cannot unite and love each other.”
I looked around and saw all of these beautiful women whether it was an author or a reader laughing and complimenting one another. We were there to soak in the knowledge of women who look like us and share our experiences and then write about them.
As I stood in line I met people and saw people talking about fictional characters as if they lived and breathed. This is because of women like CCJ and the other gifted authors that were there as well.

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